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The Leadership Lansing Blog is the open communication forum of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. In the Leadership Lansing Blog, we will highlight all things related to the Greater Lansing business community. We will feature posts from our staff, our membership and the legislative leaders of this region. If you have any questions or would like to be a contributor to the Leadership Lansing Blog, please contact Eric Dimoff, Marketing and Communications Director, at 517-853-6460 or We appreciate the continued support!


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What is the Chamber of Commerce?

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What is The Chamber of Commerce?

At the heart of the local economy and the backbone of virtually every great community you’ll find a chamber of commerce celebrating and promoting the diversity and uniqueness of their community.  Chambers of Commerce help form the fabric of America.  Their efforts result in business attraction, job creation, improved education, beautification and more.  Despite all of this, the question is still often asked, “What is the Chamber of Commerce?”

Technically, chambers of commerce are business associations generally incorporated as a 501(c)(6), that work diligently to improve the economic, cultural, and overall business climate for the areas they serve.  They are typically private, not-for-profit corporations.  Chambers are governed by a volunteer board of directors and employ professional staff to accomplish their mission.  While that is impressive, it is the daily work of chambers that moves communities, the state and this nation forward. 

Today’s chambers of commerce focus on a broad range of activities and support for both business and the community at large.  From community and workforce development initiatives to information dissemination and legislative advocacy, chamber professionals and members work with other talented leaders in business, community and government to create a positive environment and to make the community a better place to work, live and play. 

The beauty of chambers of commerce is that they truly embody the spirit of entrepreneurship, ingenuity and innovation of their communities and the businesses they represent; therefore, specific programs, products and services vary by chamber and are tailored specifically to the needs of the local community.  These programs often include:

  • Business development and growth programs for large and small businesses
  • Custom research, local/regional economic forecasts, or other analysis
  • One-stop shops for information or services related to starting a business, getting elected to public office or finding a job
  • Fighting for pro-business as well as important community relevant legislation and to form public and private alliances

This list goes on.  Whether it is economic development, tourism, community events, or those mentioned above the chamber of commerce is the “go to” resource for information.  It is the convener of people and a place where things get done.  In short, chambers of commerce provide the community leadership necessary to develop the economic well-being of their region. 

As you see, chambers of commerce are involved in many facets of the community (sometimes quietly) to help create places we call home. October is Chamber of Commerce month in Michigan. This month is set aside annually to reflect and show our appreciation for the work of many dedicated individuals and organizations across the state.

Now that you have a better sense of what the chamber is, you can better understand the role they play in your community.  With this new knowledge, take a moment to stop in and meet your chamber of commerce staff and learn more about the powerful work they do and the contributions they make on behalf of you, local businesses and the community.  If you already know them (and chances are you do), drop in, say thanks and tell them how much you appreciate them for their work!

Submitted by: Bob Thomas, Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals 

Tags:  business attraction  business climate  business development  chamber of commerce  community leadership  cultural  economic  entrepreneurship  ingenuity  innovation  job creation  public policy  regionalism  workforce development 

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Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Internet or travel agent? It’s a dilemma many people are wrestling with as the summer vacation season heats up.

If you think most travel agents are being superseded by online booking mechanisms, think again. Although the Internet has simplified booking an airline ticket or a room at a well-known hotel chain, if your trip involves several components or you’re seeking a truly unique professional or private experience, that’s when a well-connected travel agent can really make a difference.

Travel agents are staging a comeback to web sites like, Orbitz, and Travelocity. This is because travelers are tired of always communicating with a screen and want to ensure that their getaway is in good hands. Creating a personal relationship with a travel agent who understands and cares about your travel needs is important no matter what realm you are traveling in: corporate or academic, group or private, domestic or international. Just as much as you can’t beat the relationship that you create with an agent, you also can’t beat the relationship that they have forged through repeat business with travel suppliers that will be sure to land you your ‘sold out’ room or coveted aisle seat. 

Here are three scenarios when a travel agent’s expertise may outperform the electronic variety:

  1. If your trip is complex – A vacation involving a 10-day Mediterranean cruise followed by a week on your own driving the Grand Corniche into Monte Carlo requires numerous airline, cruise, hotel, and car reservations. Or perhaps more realistically, consider a business summit involving numerous guests arriving and departing at different times, staying at different hotels, and looking for different combinations of business and pleasure while they’re there. These are situations that can be overwhelming to most travelers or travel planners. Leave those critical details to a travel consultant like 7C Lingo, who specializes in group and corporate travel and has instant access to it all.
  2. If you’re traveling overseas – Do I need a passport and/or visa? Are there security issues or travel advisories for this country? These are just three of a myriad of questions that a travel agent can answer for you. Travel counselors also have access to the specific locale and region, such as which museums are closed for renovation, which holidays shut down the city, and which festivals are coming up. 7C Lingo is unique because it already functions as a cultural consultancy that can provide you with expert multi-cultural knowledge to supplement your travel experience. Whether you are an individual with just a few country-specific questions or a business leader looking for a pre-departure culture seminar or an English interpreter, 7C Lingo can help to ensure that you are prepared in every dimension for your journey. 
  3. If you want an ally start-to-finish– Many people like the comfort in knowing they have a built-in problem solver throughout not only the trip planning process, but also the trip itself. From an advisor on the local best cuisine to someone to call when your party was double booked in your hotel’s only conference room, you will have someone to call if you are working with a travel agency.

And what about pricing? Smart Money magazine compared the vacation pricing of three traditional travel agencies to two travel Web sites. The results? The travel agents were able to deliver the greatest savings to their clients when going head to head with Expedia and Travelocity. Travel agents can always recommend ways for you to save money without jeopardizing the quality of the vacation experience. Sometimes all it takes is for your agent to make a slight modification of your itinerary based on their knowledge of the industry.

Indeed, a travel agent should not be the sole source when planning your next vacation. But if you’re seeking extraordinary experiences, insider connections, and exclusive perks not possible on your own – plus the benefit of a real person – there’s none better.

7C Lingo has expanded to become a full-service retail travel agency specializing in group and corporate travel. Its customized, uniquely personal approach provides not just the buying power of a travel agency, but the full-service, multi-cultural support of true global experts. 7C Lingo is a member of Ensemble Travel® Group, an elite circle of professionals with knowledge of every type of vacation experience. 7C offers special amenities and unique opportunities around the world which are only available through an Ensemble Travel Group member agency.

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Tags:  business  cultural  internet  multi-cultural  overseas  passport  summer  travel  travel agent  trip  vacation 

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