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Business Spotlight: The Business of Corporate Travel

Preferred Corporate Travel Ascends With Florida SBDC at FAU Support

Success Story: The Business of Corporate Travel

By Shavantay Minnis

For Shirit Lamm-Gurman, opening Preferred Corporate Travel Inc. (PCT) in 2006 was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

“I always had the passion to be my own boss and entrepreneur that creates something that will deliver the values and passion that I bring to the table,” Lamm-Gurman said.

Then the 2020 global pandemic hit, and the travel industry took a major halt, impacting her business significantly. “We went from having multiple seven figure revenue to zero in the span of three weeks,” she said. “There was no more income or revenue coming, and just to handle that was super challenging.”

Through assistance and support from the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Lamm-Gurman pivoted to a virtual setting and found her footing to keep her business afloat.

Lamm-Gurman worked with Jazmine Loiselle, a business consultant at the Florida SBDC at FAU, specializing in marketing and digital media strategies.

“Jazmine really was there for me to offer a lot of resources and to kind of hold my hands through the process. I was thankful not to have to go through and figure it out by myself. Just the fact that she was there to offer business support meant more than she probably knows,” she said.

With Loiselle’s support, Lamm-Gurman said, learning how to market and promote herself and her business was a challenge, but it was one she’s thankful she was able to accomplish.

Now three years after the global shutdown, Preferred Corporate Travel has seen more success than ever.

PCT, which continues its virtual operations, manages top-level travel operations for clients globally. Anything from airline bookings and car rental services to hotels and setting up virtual meetings, PCT does it all with a personal touch.

“Every company is different, so we take the time to partner up with our clients, understand their needs, objectives and corporate culture and design a travel program that is in line with their policies and guidelines,” Lamm-Gurman said. “I wanted to keep it very personalized, so customers will feel that they're calling someone they know, kind of like family.”

Because of the guidance Lamm-Gurman gained from working with the Florida SBDC at FAU, she decided to give back and become a business mentor to graduate students at FAU.

“It was just like my calling to do it and to give back in that manner. I’ve even gone on to be a part of a panel of women entrepreneurs where I can empower young men and women to dream big and excel and remind them not to let any fears or hurdles stop them from achieving their success,” she said.

“Working with the Florida SBDC at FAU was just an amazing process to go through. I think I learned a lot in those three years, and it's really a very humbling experience to understand as a business owner, as a person, for that matter, that you never know what's down the road, and you never really know what's coming, but that you need to have a mental preparation and mental tenacity to go through it and not give up.”