2018 Innovations Lay the Foundation for Prosperous 2019
Cutting-edge technology, unique strategic marketing partnerships and enhanced engagement efforts encourage travel advisors with Dream Vacations to live their dream.
January 17, 2019 // Franchising.com // Fort Lauderdale, Fla. - While mainstream cruise lines are experiencing single digit capacity U.S. growth in aggregate in 2019, Dream Vacations is outpacing the industry average with high double-digit capacity growth as a result of numerous advancements, increased engagement and technology investments in 2018 by home-based travel agency franchise Dream Vacations.
“We beat our goals and hit record sales numbers in 2018 as a result of our employees caring more about our network of agents,” said Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president of Dream Vacations. “Caring more means listening to and connecting in-person with our network so that we can deliver technologies and programs that meet their business needs and foster their growth. This success wouldn’t be possible without the creativity and dedication of our headquarters team who aren’t afraid to take risks.”
Ensuring that work-from-home travel agents can work more efficiently so they can spend more time focusing on their existing clients and building their business is a top priority. Having one of the largest information technology teams in the home-based travel agency industry, means that new programs can be launched and enhancements to existing programs can happen concurrently.
- Upgrades to the consumer website in 2018 have made it more intuitive than ever to navigate complex promotions, and has resulted in three times the amount of online bookings than same time last year. Consumers appreciate both the simplicity of booking online on any device and having the peace of mind knowing that they booked with a travel agent who can serve as their advocate.
- In addition, significant enhancements were made to the Groups Registration tool to not only accept credit card payments, but also provide increased flexibility in how group payments are made.
- What’s more, the IT team completed 18 technology releases based on evolving feedback and popular demand from Dream Vacations.
- In addition, land is on the horizon with a technology solution arriving in the first quarter that will streamline and simplify booking land vacations, and which also includes an integrated itinerary builder and app. This will be beneficial for agents and consumers, as agents will have more time to deliver a remarkable experience to their clients, while consumers can have a stress-free vacation knowing that all details have been taken care of.
In 2018, the innovative marketing team pursued creative ways to expand Dream Vacations’ footprint across the U.S. and they are hyper focused on communicating with consumers via their preferred communication channels.
- Creating synergies and using reciprocal marketing between Dream Vacations with well-known lifestyle brands such as Tumi, Swarovski, Wine.com and Beyond Proper has exposed the three brands to new potential, qualified clients. Moving into 2019, these partnerships will be leveraged through consumer promotions to offer more value and perks to enhance client’s vacations and lifestyle.
- The Virtual Cruise Event program expanded in 2018 to include a luxury-specific event with special promotions such as up to $250 onboard credit with Oceania Cruises and a gift of Tumi products valued up to $500 when booking a Regent cruise.
- With direct mail increasing in popularity and an agency participation record of 40 percent of franchise owners using it as a way to communicate with their clients, the corporate office of Dream Vacations will be covering the cost of direct mail pieces for franchisees starting in 2019.
- Furthermore, recognizing that consumers have a penchant for emails that share news and information, not only deals, is driving a change to create more sophisticated emails that are sleeker in look with more enlightening and inspirational content.
Connecting and Culture
Engaging with Dream Vacations agents and taking a vested interest in their success has driven positive financial results in 2018 and created a culture of caring.
- From hiring a Vice President of Engagement who leads open-forum weekly engagement calls to hosting approximately 1,500 agents at more than 50 in-person events throughout the year, engaging and connecting with the network of home-based travel agents is at the core of Dream Vacations’ culture and will always be a focus. In addition, agents who attended a regional training, National Conference or Summit experienced on average a 35 percent increase in sales.
- In an expression of gratitude, in 2018 the first annual “Travel Agents Are Our World” Customer Appreciation Week was launched to honor and thank the network of travel agents. “It is the unexpected thank you or reward that shows our agents that they are valued and that we care more about them,” said Dustin Jones, vice president of engagement.
Giving back is a keystone of World Travel Holdings and its brands, whether it is raising money and granting wishes for signature charity Make-A-Wish®, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving, or making vacation and business dreams become reality for military veterans.
- In 2018, agents, franchise owners and the corporate Headquarters team donated nearly $120,000 or the equivalent of granting 24 wishes for children with critical illnesses.
- Dream Vacations expanded its Veteran Enlistment Program to include Gold Star Families and also awarded seven veterans with free franchises as part of the award-winning Operation Vetrepreneur program, which has given away a total of 37 free franchises since the program’s inception in 2012.
Significant Network Growth
While the Dream Vacations network has experienced double-digit percentage growth this year, the home-based travel agencies are focused on developing the most successful agents in the industry.
- A recruitment team with more than 186 combined years of combined experience, coupled with their hyper focus on prospect engagement means more qualified people are joining Dream Vacations than ever before. That is why in an effort to keep new training classes small in size and provide more personalized attention, the number of new franchise training classes increased in 2018.
- What’s more, innovative incentives such as an earn-back promotion where franchisees can earn back a portion of their initial investment, training credits to redeem for National Conference cabins and more are directly tied to a new franchise owner successfully launching their business.
- In addition, Dream Vacations has maintained its status as the number one travel agency franchise opportunity for veterans.
In 2018, Dream Vacations continued to receive prestigious accolades beyond the travel and franchise industries, confirming its dominance as a supporter of veterans, small businesses and as a top private company in the Southeast.
- Military Times ranked Dream Vacations as the number one franchise for veterans for the fourth year in a row, while Entrepreneur ranked Dream Vacations in the top two.
- For the seventh and fifth consecutive years respectively, Dream Vacations was recognized as a Top Private Company by South Florida Business Journal and Florida Trend, as well as a Top Workplace by Workplace Dynamics and Sun Sentinel.
- In addition, the International Franchise Association recognized Dream Vacations as the best in the franchise industry for its digital marketing and online engagement at the annual Marketing Innovation & Technology Conference.
Dream Vacations is looking for individuals who are passionate about travel with an entrepreneurial spirit who would like to be part of a travel agency network that cares more about its agents and travelers.
About Dream Vacations
Travel agents with the top-ranked home-based travel agency franchise Dream Vacations have the resources to plan and create seamless vacation experiences for their customers while offering the best value. A member of the International Franchise Association, Dream Vacations is part of World Travel Holdings and has received partner of the year, a top-ranking status, by all the major cruise lines as well as national recognition for its support of military veterans.
Public Relations Manager
SOURCE Dream Vacations