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Meet Dan Ilves of TravelStore

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dan Ilves.

Dan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
While in college I became involved with a few folks starting a student travel agency on campus, and we eventually launched the USC Student Travel Center in the ’70’s, chartering aircraft to the East Coast and Europe, and mostly servicing students heading to Europe with backpacks, or to Hawaii and Mexico. I’ve had various positions since then, but the last 20+ years with TravelStore, which is now an employee-owned travel agency, the largest that’s headquartered in California, servicing corporate travel and leisure travel needs of our clients.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Professionally, my biggest struggle was when I worked for a major tour operator in LA that went belly-up. I had a working spouse and two young children, but it was hard going for a while. I had a fairly good music poster collection I treasured, and sold some of that to make ends meet.

The travel business has certainly gone through many changes, as most industries have, but while there’s a lot of chat now about the upside of using a travel agent, for a while the media only focused on the demise of the travel agent, which never occurred. Good travel agents are worth their weight in gold, and our business has only flourished through the years because our clients know that.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the TravelStore story. Tell us more about the business.
TravelStore has been in business over 40 years now, the last 12 as an employee-owned one. We specialize in corporate travel and leisure travel worldwide. Our largest corporate client is the State of California, for example. I manage our marketing, oversee our online presence and some of our branch operations, as we have 8 branch locations throughout the state.

We are known for the personalized service we deliver. Our tag line, “we’ve been where you want to go,” is meant to convey much of what we provide a leisure traveler, and that is our personal knowledge as well as our global connections. In today’s complicated world, the travel agent’s role is ever more valuable, and our exclusive offers and personal connections enhance our client’s adventures, wherever they travel to.

Being an employee-owned company (ESOP), our staff is very much invested in the success of the company, because each benefit from doing the right thing and serving our customers the best way possible. It may be a subtle difference to the end-user, but it sets us apart, and we have a unique culture. We’ve consecutively been awarded “Best Place to Work” in LA County by the Los Angeles Business Journal, and recently were awarded “Most Trusted Travel Agency – Los Angeles” by LUX Hospitality.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck has little to do with our business success. Success comes from constantly working hard and being focused on what needs improving and, in today’s world, keeping up with technology to some degree. For example, we have a new app we provide our leisure clients that includes their trip itinerary in detail, destination guides, and the ability to communicate with their travel consultant while traveling.

Travel is highly valued by our clients — it’s an important part of their lives, it enhances and defines who they are. Travel is critical to appreciating our planet, understanding other cultures and realizing our commonalities and our differences.

So long as people can and choose to travel, we will have a role to play in their lives.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 11601 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 300
    Los Angeles, CA 90025
  • Website:
  • Phone: 310-575-5540
  • Email:
  • Youtube:

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