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Travel Agents Take the Stress Out of Vacation Planning, Study Finds

Alexandria, VA, April 22, 2015 – Most leisure travelers who use a professional travel agent to plan their trip do so because it takes the stress out of traveling, according to a new consumer study commissioned by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).

In the 2015 Traveler Decision Making study, conducted by Lodestar Advisory Partners for ASTA and sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines, 72 percent of travel agent customers said they use a travel adviser because it just makes things easier. And, they plan to do it again.

“This study confirms what we found in another independent study we commissioned last year—when you use a travel agent, you have a better experience,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. “We know from the U.S. Travel Association that 429 million vacation days go unused by Americans every year. That means that when it comes to using those hard-earned days off, no one has time for a vacation do-over. Using a professional travel agent is critical to taking the risk out of travel planning,” Kerby said.

Of the 3,000 U.S. travelers who took the survey:

• 92% who used a travel agent expect to use one again.
• 72% said agents make travel planning easy.
• 69% said if something goes wrong, an agent is there to take care of it, and them.
• 68% said agents are great for booking special trips.
• 61% said agents have the knowledge to plan a better vacation.
• 59% said agents still have access to better deals than they can find themselves.

A U.S. traveler is defined here as a consumer who took at least one leisure trip in the past 12 months with an overnight stay in a commercial property.

The study found the typical travel agent customer is younger, more affluent, a racial minority, male, travels frequently and most often travels alone. Among the younger generation—millennials— 41% used a travel agent in the past 12 months.

Source:  ASTA.org

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Why Thanksgiving is my Favorite Holiday

by Josée Covington, President and CEO

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s a day not only to celebrate, but to reflect upon and be thankful for Josee Covington President & CEOour good fortunes. For the most part we – all of us – don’t realize how lucky we are to be living in this country of opportunity. Yes, it is still that! Where else could I have started my own business on a shoe string and succeeded for 47 years?

The Thanksgiving holiday is so meaningful to me, that since 1967 it has been tradition to hold our annual company meeting, our “State of Covington Address,” in proximity to the holiday.

This lets me share the spirit of the season by showing my gratitude to all of our employees for their hard work during yet another successful year. We look at what we have accomplished in the past and how we will go strongly forward into the future that lies ahead for our industry and Covington Travel.

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Covington Travel Recognizes Employees for Loyalty and Service

During our recent company meeting, more commonly known as “SOCA” or the “State of the Covington Address,” Josée Covington, President & CEO, recognized colleagues who are celebrating their 20- and 25-year milestone anniversaries at Covington Travel. Read More about our outstanding colleagues!

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An International Story of Love and Travel Leads to U.S. Naturalization

Dominic Bradley, corporate travel advisor in Covington Travel’s Charlottesville, Virginia office, officially US Naturalizationbecame a United States citizen on September 17, 2014.

Many of us who make our careers in the travel industry find travel woven throughout the fabric of our lives. Whether it’s born of nature or nurture, we tend to gravitate to travel, sometimes without conscious decision, and it often influences the course of our lives. Such is the story of Dominic Bradley’s path to U.S. Naturalization.

The staff of Covington Travel congratulates Dominic on his accomplishment, particularly Josée Covington, our company’s president and CEO, who is also a proud naturalized U.S. citizen. Read more

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Virginia’s First Lady of Travel

President and CEO of Richmond-based Covington Travel, Josée Covington Josee Covington President & CEO Covington Travel was recently interviewed by Virginia Living Magazine.

The consummate traveler and classically-trained cellist originally from Luxembourg shared her thoughts about the travel industry, her favorite destinations and the true meaning of luxury.

Click here for the interview, plus travel tips for summer adventures from the experts at Covington Travel.

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COVINGTON WELCOMES NEW AND RETURNING ASSOCIATES

Covington welcomes back three travel professionals to support the growth of our business travel division. Three of the four new associates had previously worked for Covington. July 2013
Read about their new roles.

NEW FACES

Covington is pleased to announce the addition of four knowledgeable and talented vacation advisors from Crossroads Travel Richmond. May 2013
Learn more about the vacation advisors who have joined Covington.

COVINGTON PROMOTES PITZER AND ADDS NEW ACCOUNT MANAGER

Pitzer has been promoted to Director of Business Travel Services and Allie Beckenstein has recently joined Covington as Account Manager. March 2013

TRAVEL AGENTS MAKE A COMEBACK

As distances increase, the benefit of using a travel agent grows. Consumers are returning to traditional agents after being burned by online services.

Ken Gassman, one of Covington’s client traveled throughout the world on business. “I never used travel agents because somebody else was paying,” the Hanover County financial analyst said. But “I’m now trying to retired, so any travel I do now is personal., which means I have to foot the bill.”

He and his wife wanted to take their granddaughter to Europe for two weeks, and when he started pricing the cost of the flights and hotels rooms, “I nearly had a heart attack.”

So he called Josée Covington, and her Covington Travel agency saved him $2,100 on the air fares and $2,800 on the hotel rooms. “I thought a travel agent was going to cost me money,” he said. “I have been shown that a travel agent save me big money. (July 2012)

SPACE TOURISM: COVINGTON HAS THE RIGHT STUFF

Covington was recognized in the July 2012 issue of Richmond Magazine as one of the few agencies certified to sell tickets aboard Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo.

Virgin hopes that its first rocket-powered space flight will take place before year’s end. “It’s a privilege to be a part of making history,” says Karen Kilyk, a local travel advisor with Covington and accredited space agent with Virgin Galactic. Contact karenk@covtrav.com.  

SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL: COVINGTON TRAVEL SET THE INDUSTRY STANDARD FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE

Covington is one of the premiere Virginia businesses featured in the annual issue of Kleos Magazine. Forty-four years ago, Josée Covington created what would become a vital and respected member of the business community in Virginia and beyond. Now, Covington Travel sets the standard for its industry in ways some might call, out of this world.

“Nothing is as important as the relationships we build with our clients, our suppliers, and our own colleagues. Not even the bottom line.” —Josée Covington, President and CEO
READ MORE (JULY 2011)

COVINGTON TRAVEL “STRENGTH IN NUMBERS” DRAWING PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR WCVE’S SPRING CAMPAIGN

During WCVE’s recent Spring Campaign, Covington Travel donated two round-trip airline tickets for the station’s Strength in Numbers’ Drawing.  Our goal was to provide WCVE’s listening audience with an added incentive to support their campaign efforts.   (MAY 2011)

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