While travel booking apps and websites have gotten a great deal of attention, the reality is that consumers faced with vast and complex online booking options are returning to their trusted travel advisors to help them plan their dream vacations People value their time now more than ever and they want to ensure their vacation is stress-free right from the start--and 91 percent of travelers who use a travel agent are more satisfied with their vacations according to American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). Travel agents are once again the cornerstone of successful travel adventures.
The desire to simplify lives is not only a trend among Millennials, but also Baby Boomers, and Generation X members. Americans who love to travel and want to experience the world are seeking second-act careers in the travel industry. Whether it's getting away from the corporate grind or retiring from the military, people are looking for ways to earn supplementary income and satisfy their need to explore. Travel franchise opportunities such as Dream Vacations provide the perfect solution.
From briefcase to suitcase
Former stockbroker Mara Hargarther was tired of the grueling Wall Street hours and wanted a slower-paced, fulfilling career that would yield high rewards and allow her to maximize time spent with her children. "Unlike most that get into this business, I did it because I wanted to earn a good income. I didn't do it for the travel benefits, which is very common among travel agents," she says.
Hargarther says she came to this conclusion after researching many different business models and travel agencies. After shopping around, interviewing the competition and talking to existing franchisees, she realized she could make being a work-from-home travel agent a long-term career. Won over by the Dream Vacations' leadership team who she deemed to be supportive and trustworthy, she signed on the dotted line and hasn't looked back.
Twenty-five years after beginning her career in travel, Hargarther is one of Dream Vacations' top-producing travel agents. She specializes in premium-luxury travel and group travel, crediting her success to the relationships and friendships she cultivated over the years--both with the corporate staff and travel suppliers.
"I am extremely fortunate to be where I am today and I never forget for one minute that I love to go to work each day. Not everyone can say that."
And from battlefield to cruise ship
The skills needed to strategize, command, and execute on a battlefield are very similar to the ones needed when owning a business. Marcus Watkins, a veteran of the Army National Guard and Dream Vacations franchise owner since 2017, admits that it felt like a natural fit from the start. "That can-do attitude, drive and work ethic my wife and I gained from more than 20 years in the military has been what helped us the most. We know we have set a goal for ourselves and we are determined to see it through, so our drive and need to see something to the end has kept us pushing forward," he says.
Watkins and his wife Sophia Cummings-Watkins, who currently serves in the Naval Reserves, wanted to satisfy their need to own a business while providing a retirement nest egg. Their military background coupled with Cummings-Watkins' experience working for an airline made opening a travel agency franchise an attractive option. Plus, they wanted the flexibility to work from home or anywhere in the world, and share their experiences exploring new cultures with others. When they heard that the Dream Vacation brand was consistently recognized as the No. 1 travel franchise opportunity for veterans, the couple decided to pursue the opportunity.
A major selling point for the Watkins' was the support Dream Vacations provides to franchisees. "Customer service is a big thing for us and each franchise owner we spoke with had only great things to say about the support Dream Vacations provides and the customer service. We didn't want to be in a business where we would feel so lost and had no one to turn to for help when needed. It feels so good to know that we are in business for ourselves, but not by ourselves," Watkins says.
Learn how to create a lucrative second act career and become a Dream Vacations franchise owner at www.DreamVacationsFranchise.com.