Hello Rochester: Indulge Yourself Travel
Indulge Yourself Travel is a Dream Vacations Franchise. Dianne Howcraft is President & CEO of Indulge Yourself Travel and it's her responsibility to oversee the entire franchise, set annual goals, train new associates and keep current associates up-to-date with industry standards, negotiate exclusive promotions with vendor partners, represent the other 1475 franchises as a key member of committees which dictate the direction of Dream Vacations in the future as well as provide excellent customer service to all clients. Dianne is happy to state that due to her retirement, Scott McCafferty is currently taking part in assisting Dianne with these functions as they work towards him assuming full responsibility.
1. Since we all need a little vacation inspiration, what is your favorite travel destination?
DIANNE: My absolute favorite is England! I'd go there 3-4 times a year if I could! If it's not on your bucket list today, I'd recommend adding a British Isles cruise! A close second is river cruising in Europe! It's a magnificent way to see several countries and enjoy the true culture of the area since you're traveling on a river and porting right in populated areas, vs the traditional ocean cruise that ports in commercial ports. My favorite time to travel on a river cruise is after Thanksgiving and before year end when the Christmas Markets are active in Europe!
2. How has travel changed since the COVID-19 Pandemic?
DIANNE: Travel? Has someone actually traveled since COVID began? (Only kidding - somewhat....) Our office has CANCELLED & RESCHEDULED more reservations in the last year than we thought possible! Travel virtually came to a halt for cruising and it's been stopped for over a year now! While it has restarted in some European ports for European citizens, we're only just now starting to take new reservations for cruising to the Caribbean, departing from St Maarten, Nassau and Bermuda! Sad to say that as of today, you'll have to fly internationally in order to take a cruise to the Caribbean. I believe that we might see cruising from the USA again late this year. Any travel today requires you knowing what your state's COVID protocols are, what the protocols are for the destination you're going to and for getting back home. I'll let Scott address the rest of the question.
SCOTT: Travel to-date, since the Pandemic started, has shown that it has two sides - 1) Those willing to take the "chance" and travel following the restrictions set forth by the destination that they are choosing and 2) those that absolutely will not leave the comfort of their hometown.
People that have had the ability throughout the pandemic to work remote, or that don't work at all, have had the flexibility and eagerness to travel to destinations outside of their home state, and in some cases, want to stay there for lengths of time.
Others that are too afraid of being questioned by their employers, or that are being told that they would have to take an extended amount of time off before returning to work after recreational travel are steering clear of all vacation plans.
3. Has COVID-19 made it more important for people to utilize a travel agent for vacation plans? Explain.
DIANNE: COVID-19 has made it more important for people to utilize a GOOD travel advisor! There are so many 'rules' now and you need to understand not only what's required of you prior to your departure, but also for you to return home. A GOOD travel advisor will have this knowledge and will keep you informed. Our office excels at doing this and we not only make you aware of the new protocols, as we know them, but we continue to provide a high level of customer service to all our clients, as we're always done, advising them of things no one else has ever told them! An example: Did you know that you can get shipboard credit when you sail from most major cruise lines if you own 100 shares of their stock? Best yet, we do NOT charge for our service! We are paid commission from the vendors we partner with and accept that as full payment. You cannot save money using the internet! There are too many 'hidden secrets' and we can normally find a better, unadvertised price, and of course we also have exclusive promotions you cannot get elsewhere.
4. If some are nervous to travel because of COVID-19, what message of encouragement do you share with them?
SCOTT: I explain to my clients that if their hearts are set on traveling, it is ok to do so, as long as you understand what will be required of them and their family when they arrive at the destination, and when they return back to the US. Practicing and participating in the safety protocols that our vendor partners have put in place at their resorts is no different that the day to day protocols we follow when going into the grocery or hardware stores - Sanitize your hands, wear your mask when in close proximity or when indoors, and keep your distance. The safety protocols have all been reviewed by each area's local government and they are followed up in regularly to adherence.
5. What do you expect the future of travel to look like?
SCOTT: People want to travel - and they want to travel now! Travel is the one true thing that makes us all richer by opening our eyes and hearts to cultural diversity, new experiences, and lifelong memories. I believe that when all sides of the tourism industry can operate without restriction, travel will be booming and ships / resorts will be at capacity almost immediately. I believe that people will be booking their bucket list experiences sooner than planned now that they have lived through the unexpected and have seen what it is like to have areas of the world shut down overnight. I believe we will be VERY busy - LOL.
6. Anything else you would like to add?
Please call our office at (585) 392-7777 when you're ready to prepare for your next vacation!