September 16, 2014

Medina
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Medina travel agency gets into the business of romantic escapes

MEDINA — With a name like Red Amore Travel, you’d expect a travel agency to specialize in romantic trips — honeymoons, anniversaries, destination weddings and couples getaways.

You’d be right.

Cyndi Hansen, owner of Red Amore Travel agency in Comstock’s Junction on North Court Street, hopes it will “be love at first sight” for clients stopping in to book their vacation.

Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell helps Cynthia Hansen use giant scissors to celebrate the opening of her Red Amore Travel Agency in September. Also attending the ribbon-cutting are, from left, Jonathan Mendel, the city’s community development director; Debra Lynn-Schmitz, former president of the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce; and Matt Wiederhold, executive director of Main Street Medina. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell helps Cynthia Hansen use giant scissors to celebrate the opening of her Red Amore Travel Agency in September. Also attending the ribbon-cutting are, from left, Jonathan Mendel, the city’s community development director; Debra Lynn-Schmitz, former president of the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce; and Matt Wiederhold, executive director of Main Street Medina. (COURTESY PHOTO)

“I designed the office so that my customers feel like they’re already on vacation at a Caribbean resort,” she said.

Wicker chairs, tropical plants and tiki-hut window valances lend the office a laid-back vibe.

But there is nothing laid back in the way Hansen approaches planning a vacation for her clients. Hansen travels the world, checking out locations, taking seminars and working with the industry to find the best travel options available.

“I go to Europe at least once per year,” she said, “I can find the best value for a customer because I work with so many travel suppliers.”

Suppliers, she said, require travel agents to maintain certain certifications.

“I get trained directly by the suppliers,” she said.

Hansen said she tours many couples’ resorts “to design the perfect, memorable trip.”

“I understand that my clients may have saved a long time for their special vacation,” she said. “I try to get a feel for what they’re like as a couple — quiet and reserved or outgoing and lively.”

Hansen can have a limousine pick up travelers at their destination, arrange a couples’ massage or a romantic dinner on the beach.

“I try to capture those little amenities,” she said.

But why use a travel agency when there are so many travel sites online?

“There’s a lot of information out there now,” Hansen said. “It can be overwhelming for someone trying to plan a trip. They get there and say, ‘Wow, this isn’t what I expected.’ ”

Hansen said the more important the trip, the greater the need for help.

“I’m available 24/7 if they have a problem. I’m your advocate throughout the journey,” she said. “And you don’t pay me. The suppliers pay me.”

An eight-year veteran of the travel business, Hansen came to the business in an unlikely way.

“I actually started in travel because I had a fear of flying,” she said, “Eleven years ago, we were adopting our youngest daughter, Nyah, now 12, from Cambodia. I knew I had to get on a plane to get her home. And I was scared. But once I arrived in Cambodia, I had an epiphany. I would have never seen Nyah’s birth country if I hadn’t gone.”

Hansen quoted St. Augustine: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

Hansen chose to conquer her fear head-on and went to work training agents nationally. She opened Red Amore Travel in September.

“My other area of business is in incentive travel,” she said. Recently Hansen worked with Dolly Hanrick of Legacy Hair Salons to create an incentive contest for both stylists and customers. Winners with the most referrals were awarded a trip to Cancun, Mexico.

Hanrick spoke glowingly about the outcome of the contest: “We brought in about 500 new customers through the contest.”

Contact reporter Nancy Johnson at (330) 721-4065 or areanews@medina-gazette.com.