100 Years Ago...
In an uncertain world, one thing remains the same; LaMacchia Travel's commitment to serve is still as strong as ever. With over 100 years of service tradition in the travel industry, beginning with Eugenio LaMacchia, an Italian immigrant, LaMacchia Travel's roots are still the same, helping people. Eugenio’s vision was to help Italian immigrants come to the United States from the old country and give them the opportunity that he received. Eugenio was able to bring many Italian immigrants to the United States through use of the steamship travel in the early 1900's. Besides steamship travel some of the other services he provided at LaMacchia were; translations, preparing Italian documents, and assisting them with immigration matters. Eugenio’s vision continued with his son Edmund.
Our Kenosha Roots...
With his graduation in 1931 from Marquette University Edmund LaMacchia founded LaMacchia Travel and reestablished his father’s business into the successful travel company that is today. In the early days of LaMacchia Travel, Edmund continued the work of his father. In the 1940's and 50’s, a time when most women stayed at home and watched the kids, 6 of them at that, his innovative and hardworking wife, Emma LaMacchia, urged Edmund to add airline travel to the products offered to their customers. LaMacchia travel became one of the first agencies in the state to do this. Emma LaMacchia is very important to the success of LaMacchia Travel. She was Edmunds right hand person. She completed all the training that was required to receive the appointments to handle airline bookings and worked at the office into her eighties.
The Tradition Continues...
In 1959, their son Eugene LaMacchia joined the team after his graduation from Marquette University. The business still catered to the local Italian community but it was branching out into other business opportunities. At this time the business had diversified beyond just travel and Italian documentation, there was the insurance, tax preparation and bail bonds businesses. Truly a family business, when Edmund got sick all 6 children worked in the business in one capacity or other. In the early sixties Bill LaMacchia joined his mother and brother Eugene in the business. By the late sixties Bill moved to Milwaukee for new opportunities in the travel industry eventually building one of the nation’s leading tour operators, The Mark Travel Corporation.
Towards the end of the 60’s and early 70’s there was a shift in the travel industry. The customers were now interested in leisure vacations or pleasure trips, with an emphasis in Las Vegas, Hawaii, Jamaica, Caribbean and the European Market. Cruise travel was also just becoming popular. Under the reins of Eugene and Emma LaMacchia, the Leisure travel trend continued throughout the 70's and 80's. Eugene identified at an early time that marketing and print advertising were a necessity to grow this new immergence of traditional travelers and because of that the LaMacchia Travel cruise and package tour businesses began to soar.
In the early 80's Tom Karnes, Grandson to Edmund and Emma LaMacchia joined the LaMacchia Travel team. Tom was able to work closely with many family members that have been such an important part of the LaMacchia Travel business. The eighties truly saw the boom of vacation travel, places like Cancun and Las Vegas exploded with visitors arriving by charter flights from Milwaukee or Chicago. LaMacchia Travel was recognized as an early leader in marketing and promoting these vacations and earned a variety of awards from national tour operators and cruise lines. By the 90’s Tom had moved from “materials distribution manager” (stamping and filing brochures) to office manager. Eugene, Emma and Tom worked diligently to grow their leisure business by focusing on service and value. During the 90's the focus was on tours, cruises and specializing in group events. Enter, The World Wide Web.
2000 – 2009...
The World Wide Web was fast becoming a major factor in the travel industry changing the way people researched and bought travel. Many travel agencies were not able to embrace the changes going on and were forced to close their doors. The travel industry was dealt another severe blow with the events of 9/11/2001. During this time period Tom and Eugene stayed positive and continually worked to keep competitive in the marketplace. Vacation Together Inc. (VTI) took over the operations of LaMacchia Travel and Toms role change again as he became President of Vacation Together Inc. A new type of Travel Company was being developed, one that not only operated traditional travel agencies but also supported travel programs for large national companies. Companies such as Sears, Ron Jon, and Harley Davidson were looking for an experienced travel company to fulfill their vacation brands. VTI managed these brands as well as executing employee and customer incentive programs for companies like Pepsi, Northwestern Mutual, and Mid America Corporation, just to name a few. Whatever the name or brand the experienced team at LaMacchia Travel was handling the calls. Eugene and Tom worked to make sure that every call or request received the best possible service and value.
LaMacchia Travel Today
In 2009 LaMacchia Travel was purchased by Tom and Monica Karnes making them 3rdgeneration owners and fourth generation in the travel business. With a great team of travel specialists LaMacchia Travel has positioned themselves to be a unique alternative to your traditional travel agency. LaMacchia Travel provides the best value and service for all your vacation needs, but also the ability and experience to create unique travel programs and incentives for employees and customers.
The reason for their continued success is simple; it’s the people, not only the great customers they serve but more importantly it’s the wonderful people at LaMacchia Travel that make the difference. Tom and Monica’s commitment is simple; a promise to make sure that each customer receives the care and attention that they deserve. With an abundance of choices to purchase a vacation LaMacchia Travel doesn’t take any request for granted, they are not just interested in your current vacation but look to create an ongoing relationship with their clients for all their future vacations.
LaMacchia Travel into the Future
In 2016 LaMacchia Travel launched a new division called, LovinAway. LovinAway creates unique and personal destination weddings, honeymoons and romantic vacation experiences in some of the most beautiful locations. As a national brand LovinAway will provide the growth and stability required to take LaMacchia Travel into the future.
As we are enjoying our 85th year as a family owned and operated business we want to thank everyone that has been part of it; customers, employees, vendors, friends and family.