Welcome to Vacation Mode Spotlight. In this feature, we will take the time to put the spotlight on the movers and shakers in the travel industry and also feature the up and coming new talent. Our first spotlight will shine on Gretna Davis, CEO of Vacation Envy International.
1. I view any of our creations or businesses we start as our children. How did you give birth to Vacation Envy International? (How did Vacation Envy International come to be?)
When the internet came out and websites like Travelocity and Expedia.com were created, I loved putting together vacation packages for places I wanted to visit. I enjoyed playing around with the numbers and dates to try and get the best prices. Eventually, I started doing it for friends.
2. What got you interested in working in the travel industry?
Friends would talk to me about trips they were planning and I would always offer to find them a better price or help them look for reasonably priced upscale hotels and resorts. Eventually, I decided that I would become a travel agent so I would have access to better deals and discounts. I wanted to help everyone save money and find nicer hotels.
3. What are some of the key elements when building a relationship with clients?
Trust. Being as transparent as possible. Being responsive to all emails/texts/messages that come in.
4. Do most clients know where they want to go or do you find yourself giving a lot of advice/coaching?
Most know where they want to go but may need some coaching to find something within their budget.
5. Looking at the trips you have planned for the coming year, do you specialize in a particular region or is the world your playground?
I'm concentrating on the popular places that most people hear about on TV/Movies/Commercials. I also try to pick places that can be visited for a reasonable price.
6. What are your personal top 3 travel destinations?
Dubai, Africa, Hawaii.
7. What makes Vacation Envy stand out from other travel agencies?
As far as a home-based business, I think I put money back into my business to make it more professional. Looking from the outside, my business does not appear to be a side hustle, it is a real travel business. Also, I don't participate in private vacation planning. I create international vacation packages for groups only.
8. Any other advice/information you would like to share with people who want to get involved in the travel industry?
The travel industry is not a quick or easy way to make money. With the internet, anyone can put together their own package. Most of the people who want to plan a private vacation are really just looking to see if I can give them a better price than what they have found. Be prepared to do a bunch of research but not get very many bookings.
9. People can be very interesting in good and bad ways. Any interesting events/anecdotes you want to share during your adventures with Vacation Envy International?
People frequently ask how much money should they take on vacation. I think that is a very weird question because everyone is different. I have no idea how much you eat, drink, spend, etc. I always tell my people to pay your trip off as early as possible, then start putting away money to spend on your vacation. Take what you can afford to spend.
10. I know this is a standard question but where do you see your baby in 5 years? 10 years?
I'm not sure, this travel business is tricky because so many people are becoming travel agents. I hope I can be successful for the next 5 years then find something different to do.