Storefront Stories: Dream Vacations

Storefront Stories is presented by the Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce. We are featuring various business in hopes to promote how our local entrepreneurs are adapting to this new environment and promoting the amazing things they are doing for our community. We will be introducing different businesses to show how they have chosen to pivot, their recent experiences, personal growth, and any tips or advice they have learned over the last 6 months.

The name says it all, "Dream Vacations Start Here" because your dream vacation begins from the moment you start planning. Whether you're planning a relaxing escape, a girlfriend getaway, a man-cation, a romantic honeymoon or a family reunion, your experience will be completely hassle-free and tailored to your wants and needs. They are Vacation Specialists, and they are here to handle every detail. The result is a custom travel experience designed personally for you. We spoke with Karen Quinn-Panzer, MCC, Owner/Vacation Advisor of Dream Vacations about how Dream Vacations has pivoted and what they have learned in the last six months.

What are some of the biggest challenges Dream Vacations has faced during the time of Covid-19?
Dealing with the sheer volume of cancellations and rebookings that the pandemic has created is the biggest challenge we are facing. We never make decisions for our clients, we simply present their options and let them decide. What one client may feel comfortable doing, may not be right for someone else. The second challenge is that since we only get paid directly by the travel vendor (be it a cruise, hotel, or a tour), we do not earn anything until people travel again. Fortunately, we have other means of income and can keep our business solvent, since we have very little overhead

What are some ways Dream Vacations have adjusted to this 'new normal'?
We have focused on how we can help our travel clients navigate through the new normal of travel - educating people on how resorts, cruises and airlines have developed new safety and sanitation protocols for travel moving forward. Our business is based on making people happy - sending them on vacations - and now we are focused on making people whole. We help them cancel without losing their investment in their vacation and often, helping them rebook in the future, whenever they feel safe in rebooking that trip

What are some helpful tips and insight that you might give another leader of a business or nonprofit?
I have found two things to be very important. First, to keep in touch with our clients on both a service level and a travel inspiration level. We have reached out to many clients during the pandemic, whether they had travel booked or not, just to see how they were doing. We have also created a few Social Media series to keep people dreaming of travel when it's safe to travel again. The first series: Around the World in 80 Days featured destinations that we have traveled to and it was hugely popular. We are currently running our next Social Media series: Chill Hotels and Resorts. You can find it on our Facebook page: Dream Vacations Quinn Panzer Travel.

Second, it very important to give back within the community, especially during the pandemic. I continue to support other local businesses through my weekly Chamber Leads Group and we are working with the Devon Rotary on a new fundraising effort to support our local restaurants while raising money for charity works that the Rotary has identified for 2020/2021.

Third, focus on what you can control. For example, we travel with a Bucket List group that had two trips this year that we have moved successfully to 2021. In addition, we are organizing our second fundraising cruise for Rotary for 2021 to Italy, Greece and Croatia.

What is your favorite positive outcome of COVID-19?
The positive outcome for me is that I have taken the opportunity to focus on training on certain parts of the world that I never had time to focus on before. And to find more time to dedicate to the charity works of our Rotary group.

Thank you Dream Vacations for participating in our Storefront Stories Series!