SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A local travel agency lost a big client Monday. The University of Oregon’s athletic department decided to go a different route.
For nearly two decades Premier Travel helped the Ducks fly all over the country; the university has now chosen to do business with a new agency based in Dallas.
“We’ve been with them for 16 years and have seen them through good and bad,” said Lauri Quinby, Premier Travel Owner.
That’s how long Premier Travel Agency has booked flights for the University of Oregon’s athletic department.
“Love the Ducks. Our whole office does; not only as travel agents, but team fans for all the different sports. For us it’s hard because I think we’ll always be their biggest fans,” Quinby said.
After finding out the university’s athletic department was ending their business relationship for a Texas-based company, Quinby says it’s been hard because they loved what they did.
“We just felt that because we have provided such an excellent service and we haven’t done anything to really cause them to go outside of here,” Quinby said.
The decision by the UO has affected not just the bookings at Premier Travel, but also office.
“We had to let two employees go. We had two that mainly did the travel for the university,” Quinby said.
One employee had been with the Springfield agency since 1998 and the other since 2002.
The UO’s athletic department says the new company, Anthony Travel Inc., will provide services they didn’t have before. Like an agent housed within the department.
“They’re going to be right down the hall; so when a coach has a travel question or an administrator has a travel question, they can go right down the hall and talk to them face to face,” said Craig Pintens, Senior Associate Athletic Director.
Pintens says the data, technology and infrastructure Anthony Travel has to offer is top of the line, along with their experience in athletic travels. He says Premier Travel has contributed immensely over the years.
“They’ve become an important part of what we do because travel is important to us and we travel all over the country. Obviously Premier had a big part of that,” Pintens said.
“Again for us it’s just disappointing because we’ve loved it. We’ve lived and breathed it for so long,” Quinby said.
Quinby, a season ticket holder to three different sports, says she’s disappointed, but she’ll still cheer for the ducks from the sideline.
“Still we’re their biggest fans; but now their brand’s getting out there and other people are aware of the Ducks. So there are going to be more people interested and getting a piece of that action,” Quinby said.
Anthony Travel’s clients include other big schools such as USC, Duke and UCLA. Both the university and Premier Travel say over the years they’ve developed a great relationship; but, the university says at this time, Anthony Travel is the best decision moving forward.