Each year, the TravelAge West Trendsetter Awards recognize travel agency leaders who make an impact on the industry and the community.
Best Group Booking Sales Effort: Debra Kerper, independent franchise owner for Cruise Planners Debra Kerper’s latest efforts to organize group cruises for disabled clients include helping form Accessible Seas 2015, which booked 85 passengers on Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas for a sailing to the Western Caribbean. Kerper made sure to accommodate each guest’s disability throughout the trip — this included providing accessible shore excursions such as swimming with dolphins and exploring Mayan ruins, finding accessible hotels and working with the ship’s dining coordinator to ensure guests had easy access to their tables.
“It makes me very proud and pleased to be able to call attention to the needs of disabled people who want to travel just like everyone else,” said Kerper, an independent franchise owner for Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. “I believe that what I do is unique — putting together fairly large groups of travelers with mobility limitations and showing them how to enjoy the world a little differently.” Kerper continually strives to make new and exciting destinations available to her clients with disabilities.
“Our efforts have enabled disabled people from around the country to travel to places they never thought possible,” she said. “We have given them the tools and the confidence they need to continue to travel.” Future trips include a Mississippi River Cruise, land trip to Israel, several Caribbean Cruises and a cruise to the Western Mediterranean.
2015 Finalists and Runner-Ups TravelAge West Trendsetters Award
WAVE GALA Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey, CA