BEDFORD — Getting into the travel business just ahead of a global pandemic has been interesting, to say the least, for Pam Voorhies and her brother Tim Thompson.
The two purchased Travel One last fall, but their excitement for sharing their love of travel and assisting customers with arrangements was soon dampened by the coronavirus pandemic.
But the Lawrence County pair say the downturn in the travel industry has given them time to establish themselves in the business and focus on 2021 trip planning. As the new owners of Travel One, a longtime Bedford travel agency, they are carrying on a local tradition in travel planning.
Travel One has been serving the vacation and travel planning needs of Bedford and the surrounding area since 1991. Original owners Mike and Debbie Hicks were looking to sell the business as they focus more on hotel development.
Voorhies and Thompson have extensive travel experience and wanted to be part of something they said is a valuable asset to the community.
“I’ve used Travel One in the past and have always been extremely pleased with the quality of service I have received from Debbie and her team at Travel One,” Thompson said. “So when the opportunity was presented to come on as owners, there was really no hesitancy about being part of such a great group of professionals.”
Voorhies is owner of Little Red Porch on the west side of the square.
“I love to travel and I love to help other people see the world as well. A travel agency is a natural extension of who I am,” she said.
They moved the business from its longtime location on I Street to a building beside Harp Commons on J Street they already own. Voorhies has her sign-making studio in the back and an adjacent gathering space, Pete and Dorothy’s, is available for rentals.
Their sister, Tricia Ueltschi, has joined the team as office manager, and she and fellow agent Diane Groves can book travel plans as well. Liz Voorhies and Michelle Foster are also on staff. And for those who love a familiar face, Debbie Hicks is retaining her role as a travel agent.
“I am still passionate about travel, but the new arrangement will allow me to avoid the administrative part of owning a business and give me time to do what I love — and that is help my clients with their trip arrangements while encouraging adventure in their travels, ” Hicks said. “I love the travel industry and I’ve poured so much of myself into making it a success. I will continue to book travel and lead groups, but I’m ready to not be as tied to the office as I have been in the past.”
She said she and Mike gave a lot of consideration to who would succeed them in the ownership of Travel One.
“Our minds jumped to Tim and Pam as a natural choice for continuing our legacy and continuing to provide southern Indiana with experienced and professional travel services,” she said.
“We grew up traveling,” Thompson said. “Our dad’s job took us all over the world. Experiencing new food, architecture and a different language are all things we love.”
They also understand traveling can be a challenge, especially when visiting a foreign destination.
“Our goal is to get people confident and excited about travel,” Voorhies said.
Looking ahead to 2021, the owners are offering two group travel experiences — a cruise of the Greek islands and a tour of Ireland.
Using a travel agency to book a cruise or extended holiday doesn’t cost the client anything and can actually save money and time, Voorhies said. It can also provide help when something doesn’t go as planned.
“It’s like having a free travel assistant,” she said.
Another feature they plan to offer is concierge trips, where one of them will plan a group trip and accompany the group during the trip.
“We’re leading the trip, but it’s done your way and with the freedom and flexibility you don’t often find in pre-planned trips,” Voorhies said.