From the serene beaches of Tahiti to the cool shores of Malden Island, Lisa Hoppe of Lisa Hoppe Travel Consulting has been there.
The mother of two and grandmother of three operates her family-owned travel consulting agency out of her Wauwatosa duplex with a small staff.
"I've always had a passion for traveling. I started reading my sister's geography books when I was a kid and saw pictures of the rice terraces in the Philippines and decided I wanted to go there," said Hoppe.
While Hoppe has never been to the Philippines, she has been to 80 countries since founding Lisa Hoppe Travel in 1991—and is still counting.
With a communications degree and emphasis in intercultural communication, Hoppe makes personal connections with the countries she visits. In turn, her clients experience VIP treatment with resort management and tourist boards.
Hoppe's agency is also one of the few to have multiple country specializations in Fiji, Chile, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Australia, New Zealand and more.
"Cultural changes are a great interest to me," said Hoppe. "I learn something new every day. If I did not embrace change and challenges I would have gone away a long time ago."
Hoppe's clients reside all over the world. Her vast number of connections is the result of 20 years of creating her brand and proving her credibility and knowledge in the field. She also is an active Wauwatosa community member and sits on the board of the Chamber of Commerce.
"(Hoppe) is very knowledgeable about the travel industry and really strives to get to know her clients so she can match them to the best vacation package possible. Her business brings another level of opportunity to other businesses and to the residents of the city itself," said Terry Estness, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.
While many people prefer to plan their own trip, Hoppe strives to spare people the headache.
"Planning your own trip is a lot of money you are working with. Why would you leave that up to chance?" said Hoppe.
Lisa Hoppe Travel has planned trips valued at $1,000 per person, up to $35,000 per person, and everything in between. The agency specializes in honeymoons, destination weddings, "trips of a lifetime" and reunions.
"The only thing limiting to travel is budget," said Hoppe.
The agency also provides comfort and resources to those who experience travel emergencies.
"It's all about timing. If someone is on a trip and they miss a transfer, or a passport hasn't arrived, we have to prevent that," said Hoppe. "It makes it much more comforting to travel and connect with someone."
Hoppe also makes a point to plan her own vacations, which are rarely for leisure. Those may include multi-generational vacations with her family or scuba diving trips in Fiji or the Great Barrier Reef.
She and her husband were also the only travel agents to ever stay at Fowl Cay's private island resort. While there, they even passed Johnny Depp's private island.
"I'm always going forward with new destinations," said Hoppe. "My favorite trip is the next one."
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