For many years, I unknowingly passed by Town Place Travel and Cruises in the Marlton, New Jersey, shopping center where Zagara’s once resided (now dominated by REI). Until I joined the Marlton Business Association back in 2008, I never had the pleasure of knowing Jim and Tammy Hughel, the owners of Town Place Travel.
Then in September 2013, I received an invitation from Jim to attend a presentation regarding one of his professional passions: European river cruising. That night of sampled wines and accompanying appetizers made me want to go AWOL and sign up for a river cruise ASAP! If you’re contemplating a cruise or other pleasure trip, you’ll find Jim and Tammy to be the “hosts with the most” tempting options:
By All Writes: Why did you and your wife Tammy decide to start Town Place Travel and Cruises? When did you found/start it?
Jim Hughel: We were both veterans of the travel industry and joined forces in 1988 to establish Town Place Travel and Cruises. Our vision was to provide the kind of excellent service we both have come to know and expect when we travel for pleasure. Just recently we celebrated Town Place Travel’s 25th anniversary. Looking back, we attribute this success to our personalized service and solid relationships with our industry consortiums and loyal customers.
BAW: What cruise and other vacation services do you offer your current and future customers?
JH: Keeping with current trends, we decided to specialize in river cruising in Europe, Russia, and Asia. Tammy and I are both American Express Mariner Club Hosts. This means we personally supervise several river sailings each year and tend to our guests’ needs by hosting private excursions and an exclusive cocktail party during each trip. Additionally, we specialize in trips to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii.
BAW: Who makes a good customer for you?
JH: We’re happy to plan a cruise or trip for new customers! We also enjoy helping honeymooners find the perfect destination for their post-wedding vacation. Because Town Place Travel is an American Express Travel Network affiliate, we definitely cater to AMEX card holders and Platinum members. Many baby boomers come to us for their “dream vacation” needs. We also help families planning a once-in-a-lifetime multigenerational (or other special) trip.
BAW: What is your ultimate “happy moment” when working with your customers?
JH: The best moment is when we follow up with our clients after their return and they tell us what a wonderful trip they had. I especially love to hear that everything they did corresponded with the trip’s itinerary and how much they enjoyed the recommended sightseeing excursions. It’s always satisfying to know our customers were pleased with the selected hotels.
And nothing makes us smile more than hearing a customer say they will recommend our travel services to a family member or friend. Satisfied customers tend to tell us they’ll be back to book their next vacation with Town Place Travel and Cruises.
BAW: If you could relocate your travel agency to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
JH: We cherish the opportunities we get to “do research” by hosting trips and cruises. Some of our favorite itineraries have included Paris, Florence, London, and Barcelona. But despite all the food and wine we savor and the lovely people we meet abroad, we’re always glad to return to our business home in Marlton, NJ.
BAW: What are your favorite books (or who are your favorite authors) to read and why?
JH: It shouldn’t surprise you that one of my favorite authors is James Michener – he’s such a good fit with my love of traveling. Hawaii, The Source, The Covenant, Caribbean, and Caravans are all mesmerizing (and long) stories. A wonderful book that continues to expand my knowledge of wines from all around the globe is Hugh Johnson’s The World Atlas of Wine.
I also have a deep interest in history, especially American history. I’m fascinated by our country’s early beginnings and how this past shapes our world today. Authors like David McCullough (John Adams), Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals), and Stephen Ambrose (Band of Brothers, D-Day) are excellent at telling our American narrative.
If you’ve never tried river cruising, Jim and Tammy Hughel are your go-to cruise experts in the South Jersey and greater Philadelphia area. For more information regarding cruises and destination vacations, please visit Town Place Travel online or call them directly at 856-985-1555. Out-of-town callers can reach Town Place Travel via the 800 number: 1-800-432-8696.
For email inquiries, reach out to Jim Hughel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to like Town Place Travel and Cruises on Facebook before cruising down the European river of your choice. Bon voyage (does anyone say that anymore?), and tell Jim that By All Writes sent you!