When we featured Michael’s Travel Centre back in early 2009, the family-run travel agency, located in Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, CA, was flourishing, thanks in part, to the close family ties it was built upon. That hasn’t changed. The Ginsburg family still runs Michael’s Travel Centre, and business is good. Michael serves as president of the agency, his daughter, Caren, manages the back office, and his son, Lee, is the executive vice president.
Lee focuses on ways to develop the business and he pays close attention to what works and what doesn’t work for the agency, which is a member of the Signature Travel Network. He also spends time planning customer events, one per quarter, as well as its “Super Bowl of Travel Shows," which brings together its preferred suppliers and crowds and crowds of consumers to the Hyatt Westlake Village every January.
The title of the show fits since the Ginsburgs are avid sports fans and often spend time discussing the UCLA Bruins between booking travel itineraries.
"We are selling more comfortably these days," says Lee, "And what I mean is we are selling with more knowledge. Our team members are travelling much more, seeing more of the world, and obtaining more education as to what’s available to them."
Recently, Lee and his wife, Cathy, traveled to China aboard a Uniworld cruise. They began their trip in Beijing at The Ritz-Carlton and visited the Forbidden City. They then visited Xi’an, where they stayed at the Shangri-La and saw the Terracotta Warriors, which Lee explains as a very special sight. The cruise then glided down the Yangtze River to Shanghai, where they stayed at the Waldorf Astoria and saw the market places and bustling city. “Waldorf Astoria Shanghai had Toto Toilets that were absolutely amazing,” jokes Lee. “We surely will look into purchasing that toilet when we remodel our bathroom.”
Lee and Cathy have been on several other cruises recently, including an AMAWaterway river cruise on the Seine River, which exceeded expectations, Lee says. The couple also sailed on a Regent cruise from Rome to Lisbon. “We absolutely loved that trip and met wonderful new friends.” As for Lee’s favorite dining experience, a white truffle dinner at French Laundry in California’s wine country tops the list.
“When you hear about family businesses, there just aren’t many of them anymore,” said Lee in 2009. Today, it looks as if the family business will continue well into the future. Lee’s daughter is even working as a research assistant in the office this summer before returning to college. As Lee said in 2009, “We are still trying to be that family business and service our clients the best way we know.”