Windsor travel agency continues to win national awards
June 3, 2017
Vacations in Paradise
For more information about Vacations in Paradise, visit sunnywindsor.com, call (970) 686-0886, or visit the agency at 509 Main St. in Windsor.
Betsey Smith has seen the world of travel agencies change in her 40 years in the industry, from serving as an airline ticketing agent to booking all aspects of travel.
"I've seen it all," she said.
Vacations in Paradise, the Windsor travel agency where Smith works, has been winning awards from Uniglobe Travel, the business' host agency, since 2005, including Franchise of the Year in 2013.
This year, the business was awarded Top Preferred Sales Overall, Outstanding Sales, and Million-Dollar Producer by Uniglobe. The business has won all of the awards before, Smith said, but continued success as a travel agency has not been easy.
She opened the first travel agency in Windsor in 1990, after working in Greeley and other locations. In the late '90s, Smith said airlines stopped paying travel agents commission, since customers could more easily purchase tickets alone, and many agencies closed down.
"I saw it as an opportunity to switch gears and focus more on the vacation side of it," she said.
Sunny Ranieri, owner of Vacations in Paradise since 2008, said agents now focus more on the entire vacation, from airline tickets to transportation to a hotel or city center. The three other employees have more than 90 years of combined experience, Ranieri said.
Smith and Ranieri said experience, customer service and regular clients have helped the business continue to win awards each year. As northern Colorado natives, the employees know many of their clients, and Smith said she has been working with families in the area through three generations.
"I started out booking vacations for my friends on their honeymoons. Now it's their kids' honeymoons and their retirements," she said.
As a career, Ranieri said, everyone at Vacations in Paradise finds it challenging but rewarding. Often, Smith added, she could be planning a destination wedding, an individual's travel to different countries and as many as 10 other vacations in one day.
"It's pretty fun," Ranieri said.