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Mark Murphy, founder of Travalliance, a trade publisher in the travel industry, knew that widespread predictions about the death of the travel agent were wrong. Even with many consumers booking travel online, he says, "travel agents still sell about 70% of cruises, tours and airline tickets." At the same time, he knew that some travel agencies based in traditional storefronts were closing, as improving technology made it possible for agents to work from home.

To target these mobile folks, the Westampton, N.J.-based entrepreneur started a new publication: Agent@Home magazine. He also branched out into niche products, such as TravelAgentAcademy.com, a site offering online courses; niche websites to get agents up to speed on particular types of products, such as one called Sell River Cruises; and a platform that lets agents build their own sites quickly and inexpensively. Meanwhile, he continues to grow a consumer travel community, called Travel Tribe, that he brought under the same corporate umbrella, and the company's overall sales are percolating. They grew from $9.5 million in 2009 to a projected $11 million in 2011.


Last updated October 19 2011: 8:21 AM ET
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