Travel destinations often start here
People eyeing that next dream vacation or just a day trip a few hours a way may find what they want from a Williamsport-based company.
By linking up to PA Visitors Network, a computer-based business run by Bill Hall, many can find just what they want.
Hall’s extensive website connects people to a plethora of information and other resources for some of the top vacation spots along the Eastern Seaboard and elsewhere.
His website, he said, receives about 20,000 unique visitors a day, which translates to a lot of traffic and information.
It’s fairly easy to find too, he added.
Hall feels he has a dream job.
Working from a computer from an office set up in his Monroe Place home, Hall keeps his website updated, which includes gathering more customers who look to advertise on it.
“I do all my work right here,” he said. “I don’t even carry a laptop.”
Hall pulls up a page of his website which includes the names of motels and hotels and other businesses located in and around vacation spots.
“They are paying me to be on my website because I send them traffic,” he explained.
Hall, a Willamsport City councilman, got into the home-based business after spending a number of years working for Commercial Services Group.
The job had him on the road a lot, giving him a chance to familiarize himself with a lot of areas in Pennsylvania and other states.
Then, in 1993, he bought a computer, just about the time the Internet got launched.
“I got on AOL,” he recalled.
Like many other people, he found the world-wide web to be a fascinating new universe, and he was eager to explore it.
Before he knew it, he had quit his day job, mortgaged his home in Lancaster County and cashed in his retirement savings to start up his own business geared toward the travel industry.
The business involving building and marketing websites grew.
These days, Hall does less website building and more marketing.
And he’s happy to see where the company has come in less than 20 years.
He estimated that he has about 3,000 paying clients in 20 states and employs a number of independent contractors.
“It’s the best move I ever did,” he said. “I’m my own boss.”
Hall also likes to travel.
And, it helps him keep better abreast of what he’s helping to sell to people out there.
Travel is the second biggest industry in Pennsylvania alone, next to agriculture.
Hall said Lancaster County is the state’s biggest travel destination followed by the Poconos.
For Williamsport, Little League Baseball brings a lot of visitors, especially during World Series time in August.
“Little League Baseball I start pushing in June,” he said.
He is often contacted by people looking for lodging.
Among the notable people he’s come into contact with are New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia and former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder and Hall of Famer Lou Brock.
“It’s a lot of work,” Hall said, “but it’s like Confucious says, ‘find a job you love and never work a day in your life.'”