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Some traditional retailers have
sought to compete with online agencies by offering their own Web sites,
but Steve Phillips, business development director for Travel Leaders/
Market Square Travel in Crystal,
Minn., believes that is not enough.
“It’s a 24/7 world, and we’ve got to
be there, within reason,” he said.
“We need to be more accessible
and easily available. You see this in so
many other businesses that are open
more and longer hours.”
Phillips noted that dentists work
some nights and weekends, banks
are open evenings and Saturdays, and
even some government service centers have extended hours.
“Most people don’t live on a 9-to-
5 schedule anymore, and we need to
adapt to that,” he said. And just staying open until 6: 30 p.m. won’t work,
he said. That’s when people are in
their cars on the way home.
their personal time as theirs,” he said.
“A large percentage of our customers do this, and we never meet them.
I wouldn’t know them if they passed
me on the street.”
As an American Express associate,
Heimburger gets a lot of business
from the Yellow Pages. “That little
blue box gives you instant credibility,”
About 130 miles up the Mississippi
in Quincy, Ill., a river town of 40,000,
CONTINUED ON PAGE 46
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‘It’s a 24/7
to be there.’
— Steve Phillips
Travel Leaders has six offices in
the Twin Cities area but doesn’t have
the staff to keep all of them open on
weekends, so it staffs one office on
each side of the Mississippi River.
But extended hours don’t work in
every community. “We’re generally
open from 8 a.m. to 5 or 5: 30 p.m.,
said John Heimburger, president of
TravelPlex American Express in Kirkwood, Mo., a St. Louis suburb. His
three locations used to be open on
Saturdays, “but the amount of that
business has diminished.”
Heimburger thinks people have
gotten used to transacting their business by email during working hours.
“They do it on company time and see
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