Steve Uelner hopes you're looking for trip of a lifetime
Travel agency prefers to stray from the typical tour
Steve Uelner was at a career crossroads late last year when World Wide Country Tours, the travel agency he had worked at for the past 25 years, shuttered its doors. Fortunately, however, his former clients pointed him in the right direction.
"When Reader's Digest, the owner of WWCT, decided to get out of the travel business, I heard from several longtime customers who implored me to keep the business going," said Uelner, who responded in January by opening Country Travel Discoveries.
"For the first two weeks I was working out of my home office, but it didn't matter where I was calling from because our clientele had so much trust and faith in us. They couldn't wait to plan their next vacations, and that's made for a fairly seamless transition for all of us."
Uelner, along with a handful of former travel industry colleagues, soon relocated the business to Elm Grove and continued booking tours to the out-of-the-way destinations popular with his WWCT customers.
"We stay away from traditional tourist sites like Cancun and Las Vegas," said Uelner, president and managing director of Country Travel Discoveries. "Rather, the backbone of our business is taking people to places they couldn't go to with other travel agencies or on their own - like pineapple farms in Hawaii or a dairy farm in rural Germany. We'll take customers to Arizona and they'll rave to me more about experiencing life on a cattle ranch than seeing the Grand Canyon."
According to Uelner, Country Travel Discoveries has already reserved trips for 1,000 customers this year - well ahead of projections. While about half of the bookings are from repeat travelers, the company's core customer base will have to expand in order for the agency to achieve long-term success.
"Currently, the average age of our clients is 66, but our goal is to also market to people in their 50s, who want more experiential and interactive travel tours," he said. "These could be to family reunions, friends traveling together on health and wellness trips, or culinary experiences."
If you would like to suggest a business to be featured in the Business Spotlight, send an email to email@example.com or call (262) 446-6643.
JUST THE FACTS
BUSINESS: Country Travel Discoveries
ADDRESS: 13500 Watertown Plank Road, Suite 107, Elm Grove
PHONE: (262) 923-8121
TYPE OF BUSINESS: travel agency
- Business Spotlight: Bar Stars Bartending aims to put party hosts at ease
- Brookfield Business Spotlight: Hairstylist brings an art background to her work
- Business Spotlight: A hobby became a business for yarn shop founders
- Business Spotlight: FirstLight Home Care
- Brookfield Business Spotlight: Alli Troutman's veterinary clinic strives to be a place animals love
- Business Spotlight: A love of art and a love of space inspired architect's career choice
- Business Spotlight: Quilt shop was an opportunity they couldn't pass up
- Business Spotlight: Friends combined their talents to found Snapdragon Flowers of Elm Grove
- Business Spotlight: Family roots run deep at Biloba Brewing Co.
- Business Spotlight: Sheri Bauer wants to heal others like she healed herself
- Business Spotlight: Wayde Peronto's business takes pictures, and gives back
- Business Spotlight: North Star Catering takes the restaurant into the community
- Business Spotlight: A Savvy Bride in Brookfield strives to make a perfect day
- Business Spotlight: Jamie Durner sought fulfillment, and now helps others do the same
- Brookfield Business Spotlight: At the Fun Kids Dentist, the fun starts at age 1
- Early calling led to a practice in counseling
- Brookfield and Elm Grove Business Spotlight: Demand is strong at Self Storage of Goerkes Corners
- Business Spotlight: 3 realtors in 3 communities broadens the appeal
- Business Spotlight: Bowling is about families, including the Posnanski family at Bluemound Bowl
- Business Spotlight: Workout efficiency is stressed at Fitness Revolution