ALL About CK Tours & Cruises

Posted on 06/02/2017

Ken Keefer’s Travel Agency mission is to “See the World”. In between his trips around the world, across the United States and taking care of travel clients, we got a few minutes to ask Ken about his company, CK Tours & Cruises.

How did your business begin? “Seventeen years ago I was looking for a change in life. I purchased a travel franchise; I quickly outgrew the franchise model and transitioned into an independent agency operating as CK Tours & Cruises since 2002. I have a true passion for travel and it’s the main reason I got into the travel business. I get great satisfaction opening the world up to our guests.”

What do you provide for your clients? “CK Tours offers certified experts in many destinations, including Destination Weddings, Resort travel, Cruises, European touring, and River Cruises. In addition, my personal focus and expertise is Custom itineraries to Europe and Hawaii. We build the perfect journey and lifetime memories for our guests.”

What makes your travel agency different? “We listen to our guest travel dreams and make them come true. We are old school, while still offering all the advantages and technology of modern age travel. We do all guests registration, procure required Visa’s, and provide printed documentation. All of this is done at the same rate or lower than booking with internet providers… who offer no personal service. We excel at finding the sweet spot of travel experience and price paid.”

Where are your clients from? “The majority of our clients are from Pennsylvania and the surrounding states of New York, New Jersey and Maryland; we also have clients across the country, as far away as Hawaii.”

Tell us about one of your happy clients? “We recently had a honeymoon couple that tried planning their own trip to Italy. The stress and pressure of planning a wedding and honeymoon was a strain on the couple. A friend of theirs gave them my card and told them to call me. The bride did call me and she went over all the reasons why she thought she shouldn’t use a travel agent. I went over why she should and she agreed to let me give her a proposal - long story short, we booked her the honeymoon she always dreamed of, at a fraction of what she thought it would cost.”

What have been your favorite trips in the world? “I have so many; on the top of my list are the Greek Isles and Chile as two of my all-time favorites. The Greek Isles offer an idyllic setting a pure slice of heaven. Chile offers a diverse destination, Andes Mountains, amazing beaches, glaciers, Patagonia, penguins and the stunning wine region.”

How often do you personally travel? “I travel 4-6 weeks every year; rarely do I repeat a destination. The major exceptions are Hawaii, Alaska and Italy. I can’t get enough of those destinations.”

Is there somewhere you haven't been to yet that is on your list? “I’ve been almost everywhere, but the big hole on my bucket list is New Zealand.”

Does your staff travel often? “Yes, we have an aggressive travel plan for our staff, focusing on individual specialties, and learning opportunities. To me the best way to learn is to experience it and then they have a firsthand story to tell our guests. Last month, in May I had staff on a cruise, touring a brand new resort in Mexico, and our wedding expert Mackenzie was in Jamaica to facilitate a large destination wedding. This summer we will be on trips to multiple Caribbean islands, Alaska and California.”

Do you personally conduct any tours? “Yes, I do several tours each year. I just got back from escorting a corporate account on their annual awards trip. This summer I’m escorting my annual Ken’s Big Trip that any guest can come on. This year’s destination is Alaska for a two week land and sea adventure. In the fall I will be escorting a tour to Portugal and Morocco. Next year Ken’s Big Trip will be an intimate affair on a river barge in the Dijon Region of France focusing on wine and exclusive dining experiences.”

What is your vision for the future your CK Tours & Cruises? “Travel is a constantly evolving industry that requires regular reevaluation of operating procedures. With the help of our travel consortium Travel Savers, we are able to stay at the forefront of the travel industry, while still providing small town, very personal service. We have six employees and as a business we operate as family, even though there are no family connections. The bond that we have is strong and it comes through to our clients. I feel this adds a level of comfort to our guests in knowing, no matter which one of the family you speak to you will be served with the same level of care. I’m most proud of the personal service we provide. I believe we offer a total travel package that can’t be matched.”

Wyomissing Neighbors • June 2017