Meghann Mannix is getting married in May. She wants kids of her own, but has 30,000 other kids to worry about first.
Mannix assumed the position of branch manager of Temple’s Student Travel Agency last October and makes no qualms about letting our fair university know Mamma’s home.
“The year 2003 was a rough year for travel…SARS, the war…but ’04 is shaping up nicely and people want to travel again,” Mannix said optimistically.
By offering lower-priced airfare and travel packages, STA Travel is dedicated to the needs of all travelers, but especially those of youths. And, to torture a clich – this agency is all about show friends, not show business.
“We’re consistent, reliable, worldwide…but we’re trying to provide an experience,” Mannix said.
Anyone can utilize STA’s services on the lower level of the Student Assistance Center. Students and faculty can take advantage of discounted airfares, hotel reservations, car rentals, rail passes and other conveniences.
“They know what they’re doing…I felt completely taken care of,” sophomore Kelly Moore said after visiting STA to discuss Caribbean spring break packages.
On a local level, Mannix and her “well-traveled, experienced” staff of advisors love Temple. But STA is also doing big things outside of North Broad.
Aside from a major relationship with the MTV Network and Bunim/Murray Productions (STA provided an “Elevate Europe” trip for the seven roommates on the Real World Paris and will soon be sending the kids from Real World San Diego yonder), the agency has just partnered with NBC reality hit Fear Factor to offer prize giveaways for the stunt du jour.
Throw in a campy sponsorship of Dallas-based bike shack Terrible One and STA is sitting pretty, even without a traditional national ad campaign.
“It’s not our style,” said Mannix about their lack of radio and television promotion.
So where’s the competition? It’s on your desk, in your Diesel carry-case, in the family den and on the Internet.
“Anyone can go online, directly to an airline Web site and book a reservation. The point is you come to us for an experience,” Mannix said.
And the experience doesn’t start when you get off the plane. In March, STA will celebrate its one-year anniversary at Temple and Mannix is ready to paint the Student Center red.
“I want people to know I’m here,” she said of the bash. The details are still sketchy, but she can confirm it will take place sometime after Spring Break and have a “Europe Night” theme. Numerous vendors and giveaways will be featured, including a free 12-day European vacation.
After STA’s anniversary, the party and the promotions, will Mannix consider a pea in the pod?
“There’s no way I could afford to take maternity leave; there’s too much for me to do,” the 25-year-old beamed. Especially after the three-week, cross-country road trip honeymoon she’s planned.
Call it a case of a physician healing herself, but like STA, Mannix is after experience.
Matt Donnelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org