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From a dream to a new business opportunity

Meet Shannon & Sheri who opened a travel agency about a month before COVID-19 lockdowns. How did they survive it and become a successful business? Read their unique story below.

Shannon Stone & her husband

Shannon Stone & Sheri Bridges are the owners of White Gloves Travel Company from Austin, Texas. They opened shop in February 2020, with 16 Travel Agents and Disney Vacation Planners.

Their dream was to become a host travel agency as they wanted to help other independent travel agents and Disney planners and give them the space to grow. They wanted them to be supported and encouraged, through training, service, and care. Their agents are given the opportunity to learn the best client care in the industry, and they are paid the highest commissions.

They wanted to grow into a place where their agents feel part of a team that keeps moving forward.

Shannon Stone co-owner of White Gloves Travel Company

How did you start your travel agency?

We started our travel agency one month before COVID-19 lockdowns started! We spent a year learning how to be great leaders, motivators, and trainers, and about technology that would boost our growing team. We wanted to give our Travel Agents and Disney Vacation Planners the “royal” treatment, with tech that helped them take care of their clients, and marketing ideas that would be easy to implement. We wanted the very highest value for our investments. We did a lot of research for front- and back-end software support systems.

What do you wish you’d known before you started your travel agency?

During the first year, it would have been great to know beforehand that the travel industry would be shut down for a long period of time! But in hindsight, we are so very grateful that we had that time to really focus on our business strategies and future Agents. We were given the unique opportunity of time—time to learn and grow as a company, and time to put solid processes into place for when the travel industry came back to life in 2021. Our Agents have benefited greatly from that time investment.

“we are so very grateful that we had that time to really focus on our business strategies and future Agents.”

Can you name two things that helped you in the beginning?

We searched for a long time for an affordable way to pay our agents their commissions in a safe and secure, but fast way, and this is how we got to Melio. We love this system!

We also spent lots of time researching the customer support system at the Walt Disney Travel Company. They were so valuable in teaching us how to give the best client care in the world! We came to learn that nothing less was acceptable, and we expect it of our Agents and Planners as well.

Sheri Bridges and her husband

What advice would you give your past self before opening your travel agency?

Don’t be afraid of owning and cultivating a business. Don’t wait too long to do it! Life is full of possibilities, the answers are out there if you just look for them. Trust in your own strengths. If you have weaknesses, surround yourself with people that know and understand what they are doing. Cultivate relationships with experts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Have fun! And take good care of your team!



Shannon Stone & Sheri Bridges are the owners of White Gloves Travel Company.

*The purpose of this page is solely to provide information and should not be considered as financial advice
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice; you should consult a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.