Dream Vacations Takes Engaging Virtually To The Next Level
Leading low-cost, home-based travel agency franchise Dream Vacations is encouraging entrepreneurs who have always wanted to open a travel agency to not give up on their dreams and start a home-based business now, despite the current pandemic. The franchisor is sharing the importance of training and building a business plan now, so when people start traveling again, the new franchisees can hit the ground running.
“I decided to open my Dream Vacations franchise during the pandemic because I saw it as a golden opportunity to capitalize on the high demand for travel that we will see once the country and world return to cruising and traveling,” said Jamie Murphy, who opened his Dream Vacations travel agency franchise in Shepherdsville, Ky. in April 2020. “Any new business requires a learning curve, so I figured now is the time to open because the pandemic will give me ample time to learn the Dream Vacations systems and suppliers, plus time to market and build my brand.”
Part of the due diligence process in purchasing a franchise is attending a Discovery Day. However, with COVID-19, franchisors have had to find new ways to introduce prospects to their franchise and Dream Vacations is no exception. Dream Vacations normally hosts Discovery Days across the country during its five regional trainings each year, providing prospects with the opportunity to not only meet members of the headquarters team, but also interact with existing franchisees. With three of the five regional trainings being rescheduled virtually this year, Dream Vacations decided to create Virtual Discovery Days to give prospects the unique opportunity to hear directly from management to better understand our culture and support.
Limited to only 12 prospective franchisees who were hand-selected and well into due diligence, the prospects heard brief presentations from 10 leaders about how their department provides support and has adapted during COVID-19. Attendees were also invited to a virtual “Panel with the Pros,” which was open to all prospects, where they interacted with existing franchisees. The first Virtual Discovery Day was a big success, and more are scheduled to take place in the coming months.
It is always important for a franchisor to provide engagement opportunities for its home-based franchisees, but Dream Vacations saw the need to create even more opportunities during the pandemic. As a result, they 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. For new franchisees, the franchisor made sure to mix interactive engagement with the virtual training curriculum to ensure new franchisees really did feel part of a community.
Dream Vacations virtual initial training for new agents provides equal training and learning hours as the in-person training. One week prior to training, the new class will attend a virtual meet and greet to get to know their classmates and the training team. Official training 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 Senior Vice President & General Manager Drew Daly. The final two days of training is a live-virtual class where new agents meet the different teams supporting them, and it concludes with a virtual graduation, complete with pomp and circumstance. Following initial training, the Business Development team hosts a series of virtual happy hours to encourage engagement and camaraderie among classmates. This virtual training has proven so successful that even after COVID-19, it will continue to be an option for new franchisees.
Murphy adds, “Dream Vacations has done an unbelievable job adapting to the daily changes of COVID-19. The online engagement has been top notch, from Motivational Monday speeches to virtual onboarding and virtual regional training. Nothing beats in-person meetings, but the virtual meetings and trainings have been implemented perfectly.”
Dream Vacations is increasing its DiversityFran discount from 10 percent to 20 percent, while military veterans, Gold Star families and community heroes including first responders, educators and medical professionals, are receiving an extra 10 percent discount totaling 30 percent 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. To learn more about joining the travel agency franchise that cares more about its franchise owners, please visit www.dreamvacationsfranchise.com or call 888-249-8235.