Dream Vacations is encouraging entrepreneurs who have always wanted to open a travel agency and start a home-based business to follow their plans, despite the current pandemic. Dream Vacation notes that according to UBS research, 76 percent of people who had a canceled cruise have chosen a future cruise credit in 2021, while Cruise Critic reports that 92 percent of its members are open to cruising again.
“Whether you are brand new to the travel industry or are seeking a new host, now is the best time to start fresh with a travel agency business,” said Drew Daly, senior vice president & general manager of Dream Vacations in a press statement. “All businesses have a ramp-up period and travel is no different. We are advising new agents to use this time to train, earn certifications and create a business plan so they can hit the ground running when people are ready to travel again.”
Leveraging the tools it already had as a home-based business, Dream Vacations has launched a completely virtual weeklong initial training for new agents that provides the same amount of training and learning hours as in-person, with the classes booked to capacity each month. The week begins with an eLearning portion that is the equivalent of three days of classroom training, where they meet Dream Vacations’ senior leaders including Co-CEO/Chairman Brad Tolkin, chief operating officer Debbie Fiorino and Daly. The final two days of training is a live-virtual class where new agents meet the marketing, business development, training and support teams live on-camera, and it concludes with a virtual graduation, complete with pomp and circumstance. One week after graduation, the Business Development team hosts a virtual happy hour to encourage engagement and camaraderie among classmates. Also, starting in June, new classes will have the opportunity to meet and engage with each other during a pre-class meet and greet.
“Hosting the initial new agent training virtually provides us with cost-savings, and we want to pass those savings on to our new franchisees as our way of saying thank you for not giving up on your dreams of having a work-at-home travel business,” adds Daly.
Dream Vacations is increasing its DiversityFran discount to 20 percent, while military veterans, Gold Star families and community heroes including first responders, educators and medical professionals, can now receive a 30 percent discount off the initial franchise fee. In addition, travel agents who are new to the industry can select one of three perks currently being offered—waived administrative fees valued at $1,350; through the Earn Back promotion and based on the initial fee, earn up to nearly $6,000 back plus nine months of waived administrative fees valued at $900; or a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet valued at $1,000.
During the stay-at-home orders, the Dream Vacations headquarters team adapted its support in this current environment. Dream Vacations has launched a virtual engagement plan that keeps its network informed and engaged. From webinars and Town Halls to virtual MeetUps and newsletters, agents always feel connected. Plus, the headquarters team is creating inspiring and educational marketing assets and resources to prepare for the travel rebound.