Barry and Julie Karp had an innovative idea back in 2001 that ultimately turned into a multi-million dollar business. As long-time Milwaukee travel agents, they had become aware that many people were complaining about cruise lines that offered overpriced but substandard shore activities at their ports of call.
“We felt there was a need to enhance the shore experiences of travelers and began to develop creative, reasonably-priced excursions for them,” Barry says. “This is an area that never before was addressed nor developed. Until we created ShoreTrips – our new business – cruise ship passengers relied on the cruise line for their in-port activities.”
To turn their idea into ShoreTrips, the Karps established what proved to be a successful standard operating procedure, which involves identifying the most popular ports of call for American cruises, contacting local tourist boards, reading local books and magazines, and scanning the Internet for information about those locations.
They notice the names of local travel people mentioned the most and go to that port in person and interview them. That way, they learn the best and most interesting things to do and places to go on a shore trip.
“Because we were travel agents, we knew the needs of travel agents around the country and designed several ways to help them succeed and add profits to their revenue streams using ShoreTrips,” Julie says. “These aids are unique to us, such as ways for them to earn commissions from us and marketing tools personalized for the traveler, such as customized email blasts, flyers, and a group booking system. Our fully automated Internet-based booking engine has been lauded as the best by numerous travel agents and tour operators around the world.”
In the past year, ShoreTrips has served about 150,000 travelers.
Address: 5205 N.Ironwood Rd., Suite 117, Glendale
Web Site: www.shoretrips.com
Innovations: Extensive research and an online system for booking unique, personalized excursions for independent travelers, mostly those on cruise ships.