Mike Brown opened his Dream Vacations travel agency franchise in October 2014 where he works alongside his wife Kristen and daughter Delaney. We recently deposed Mike about owning a travel franchise and the evidence speaks for itself as to why Dream Vacations is the best travel agency franchise.
- What did you do before opening your franchise?
I have been an attorney in Pennsylvania for 42 years. Kris is also a lawyer and an author. Delaney is a Major in the U.S. Army. After her combined deployments of 33 months in Iraq and 24 months commanding an intelligence unit along the DMZ in South Korea, Delaney now serves as a faculty member at West Point.
- Why did you decide to open a travel agency franchise?
At the time that we took the plunge, I had been a lawyer for 38 years. The time was right for a transition. I distinctly remember sitting on my deck with Kris one summer evening as I cautiously raised the notion of buying a travel agency franchise. While a zillion questions remained to be answered, Kris simply said that, if this is what I wanted to do, she was “on board.”
- How have your skills carried over from your previous career?
As a lawyer, I have interviewed and examined thousands of people. I am quite accustomed to asking lots of questions. Perhaps more important, I understand the necessity of LISTENING to what people say and how they say it. This is the most valuable skill that has carried over from one career to the other.
- What is one thing you wish somebody told you before you opened your travel agency?
It is critical to understand that this is a business and requires effort. This does not mean that everyone will handle things the same way. Some people begin on a part-time basis (as we did) and are happy to stay that way. Others find that it is necessary to make the franchise their primary, if not exclusive, commitment. Whatever your model, it is not a hobby.
- What tool/resource/team at HQ has contributed most to your growth and why?
We can’t say enough about the travel agent training opportunities available. Regional trainings are enormously valuable and were the single greatest asset that allowed us to get to know other members of the network, as well as HQ personnel. Additionally, our training and marketing departments have developed “summits” as part of the Immersive Education Series to assist agents seeking growth in specialized markets. All such events are valuable for both product training and agent-to-agent growth. They strengthen the organization by fostering a genuine sense of community and cooperation.
- What advice do you have for a franchise owner who is looking to grow their business?
Be involved. Attend National Conference, if possible. Participate in a regional training session EVERY year. Get to know other franchise owners, particularly in your general area. Consider serving on an Advisory Council committee. All of these things will help build both knowledge base and confidence.
- What advice do you have for somebody looking to own a travel franchise?
It is not enough to “like to travel.” Neither does “passion” guarantee success. Owning a travel franchise is a business…an enjoyable business, but a business nonetheless. The importance of proper capitalization cannot be overstated. Bookings do not translate to immediate cash flow. Do not get into this, or any other business, without adequate capitalization.
- What is your Dream Vacation?
Attempting an event at every Winter Olympic venue would be my very cool (bad pun intended) Dream Vacation. Rattling down the bobsled track at Salt Lake City (Kris & I have actually done this!); cross-country skiing at Sapporo; jumping the Big Hill at Nagano; hockey at Lake Placid; giant slalom at St. Moritz; skeleton at Vancouver; ice dancing at Sarajevo; a double Lutz at Squaw Valley…if not, I’m good with a weekend cruise to nowhere!
If you are an attorney seeking a “motion to dismiss” from your current career, are passionate about travel, helping others, and are eager to go into business for yourself, but not by yourself, please visit www.DreamVacationsFranchise.com or call 888-249-8235.