Patty Benford, CTC
For me, travel has been an all-consuming passion. I was bitten by the travel bug as a child and have loved to travel ever since. Initially I did not start in the travel business as a career, but through different career choices it became clear to me that I enjoyed helping people build the vacation of their dreams.
So, over thirty years ago I joined the travel industry and over the years it has certainly changed! I have been asked many times if the emergence of the internet has hurt my business and I always answer "no." I embrace the internet as a travel tool. To me, my job is more like a concierge of travel. I enjoy piecing together an elaborate itinerary based on the traveler's needs and I am willig to go the extra mile for my clients. My job is more than just handling airline tickets. Whether it is a South American cruise with private shore excursions, an African safari, a thirty day land based tour of Australia and New Zealand or a luxury barge trip on the rivers of France - I love making it easier for others to see the world. It is music to my ears when I hear from my clients about what an awesome trip they had."
George Benford, Director of Sales
"Travel is the vehicle by which I believe dreams are realized, knowledge is heightened, compassion is enhanced and peace is achievable. Travel has always been my major passion in life.
That passion lead me to accept travel as a lifelong career. That passion drives me every day to share the world of travel with my friends and associates. That passion to be creative and provide others with a lifetime of experiences is an important part of my desire to assist others to explore the world. Travel comes in three classifications: Good-Better-Best.
Being a military brat, I lived in Europe and the Orient for many years. The stage was set for me to explore, immerse and embrace the many countries, cultures and experiences that the world could offer. I have been exposed to 87 countries, hundreds of cultures and thousands of unique experiences. The desire to share these blessings excites me most when I can create a similar experience for others.
My travel knowledge as a professional spans four decades and is every bit as thrilling as the first day. While Europe is still my main passion (over 100 trips); new destinations, explorations and emerging culture continue to expand my horizons. When I have the opportunity to create a client's experience, I live vicariously through each trip, greatly anticipating their return so as to view photos, relive precious moments such as the sights, cultures, culinary delights and how they influenced my client's lives."
George and Patty are affiliated with Viking Travel of Chapel Hill, NC and together affiliated with Ensemble Group (an international network of 900 expert travel agencies that create and deliver vacation experiences to match your style and exceed your expectations, with thousands of exclusive value-added offers for cruise or land vacations).
They are also members of the Greater Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville, sponsors of the Virginia Film Festival and the Charlottesville Scholarship Fund. George previoiusly served on the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau 2009-2013 and currently serves on the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport Commission. He also serves as chairman of the Charlottesville Doggie Howl-o-ween and the annual Holiday Heritage Parade.