By Carolyn Giordano and Sydney Garofolo
Mother-daughter duo Linda Randolph and Lori DeVoe are co-owners of Travel Maxima, a certified travel agency that specializes in organizing all types of travel.
Randolph has had a passion for travel since she got her first passport at 4 years old. She grew up in the metropolitan New York area and then moved to Arizona for 25 years. She has seen her share of the east and the west, and decided to move to Pennsylvania to be near her daughter, who has lived in Pennsylvania for 17 years and has six children. A year-and-a-half ago, they teamed up and formed the home-based business Travel Maxima in Honesdale.
Randolph credits her daughter with the suggestion to start Travel Maxima. DeVoe had been given the opportunity to be a travel agent and thought about it for years, however she couldn’t decide if she wanted to do it alone. Both women have backgrounds in management, organizing and corporate America, which gave them experience with people and problem solving, an aspect that is very prevalent in the travel agent business. Although Randolph was retired at the time, she thought it was a great opportunity to help others who had a passion for travel similar to hers. With their combined love of traveling, and their desire to direct, embrace and guide, they started their own business.
The women take pride in their customer service at Travel Maxima because they are there for their clients before, during and after the journey. Travel Maxima ensures “small organizations, mom and pop stores, individual travelers for leisure and business including local travel for corporate America have a great experience. We are here to get you from point A to point B with complete ease.”
The pair do not just do extensive research in the office, but when they are on vacation as well. They do on-site inspections, training and certifications with various suppliers. This is all done to become more educated and well rounded for their clients. A unique trait of Travel Maxima is they do not charge a service fee.
Although they do their very best to make sure “every T is crossed and I is dotted,” Randolph and DeVoe admit that, in the world of travel, unforeseen obstacles can throw clients a curveball. When clients travel, there can be detours and delays that cannot be predicted. Things are fluid in the travel industry and it can be frustrating. For example, when a client wants to put a hold on a hotel, the hold only lasts for a limited amount of time. During this time, prices are always rising and rooms are getting booked very fast.
In the future, Travel Maxima plans to continue helping its clients while growing the business. Randolph and DeVoe want to continue to emphasize group travel because of the great rates that are possible. They also want to emphasize the travel parties they offer. These parties are a sort of send-off before the trip which is a fun event for everyone involved.
After being in the small business world for more than a year now, The mother and daughter can offer a few pieces of advice for women entrepreneurs, or entrepreneurs in general. Randolph says, “Stay the course, have faith in yourself, have a great partner, and support system like my other daughter, Gina.” She encourages others to use any resources available to them such as the Women’s Entrepreneurship Center, part of the University of Scranton’s Small Business Development Center.
Devoe speaks to women entrepreneurs when she says, “When people see you are a woman in the business force, it might be a little harder, but still remember to always have fun.”
Travel Maxima’s owners can be found on the internet at travelmaxima.com and on Facebook at Travel Maxima. Or call 570-630-1386.
Carolyn Giordano and Sydney Garofolo are University of Scranton Women’s Entrepreneurship Center interns who work under the supervision of Donna Simpson, consultant manager.