Meet Amanda Stumpf, local mom and independent travel agent with Dream Builders Travel! In our interview, Amanda talks all about how she got into business for herself, why everyone needs a travel agent, and what travel looks like in the coming months. Read more in our exclusive interview!
Please tell us a little about yourself
I have been a travel advisor for about 5 years. I have always loved travel and have been fascinated by all the places in the world I could visit. I have 2 kids who love to travel as much as I do!
When did you realize you wanted to go into business for yourself?
Hard to say. Most travel advisors are self employed these days. There really aren’t many brick and mortar travel agencies so most work remotely from home. I love this, because then I am not geographically limited. I have helped clients from all over the country. Although I do love meeting with my local clients. I feel it adds a personal connection.
Do you have employees?
No employees. I may add an assistant or virtual assistant at some point, but for now I am able to handle everything on my own.
Prior to owning your business what did you do professionally?
I have been a hair stylist since 2004, so I have always enjoyed working with people and helping them find happiness. Two of the times when you feel your best is when your hair is freshly done, and when you are on vacation!
How do you see the future of travel changing with this pandemic?
I know people are still a bit scared of what things will look like when this is over. I also know that there are people just waiting for the all clear to pack up and go. I can definitely relate to both mentalities. I have my own travel plans coming up in the fall, and I am looking forward to it! The difficult part about this is that we have never gone through anything like this in our lifetimes. I never thought I would ever see Disney closing their theme parks for weeks or possibly months.
Why do you enjoy the work you do?
I think most people like to travel. I love to travel, but I can’t travel as much as I’d like to because it costs money, right? When I help plan someone’s vacation, I handle all the details with the same care and meticulous level of planning as if it were my own trip. I want my clients to have the best possible vacation, whether it’s once in a lifetime, or one of many.
What is the best part about being your own boss?
I get to work where and when I want. Right now, I am at home with my kids and am taking full advantage of that. During normal times, it means I can market myself how I choose to, I can take my work with me when traveling (I’ve booked trips for clients while in line for rides at Universal Studios, for example!), I can meet with my clients when and where they need me. I think what it comes down to is flexibility. Many of the people I work with have set and/or rigid schedules, so I am able to accommodate that and work with them when they are available.
Why does everyone need a travel agent?
I like addressing this question. There was a time, during the internet boom, when people thought travel agents were going to be obsolete. We started seeing so many discount travel sites pop up, and it was so easy! But, with ease and convenience, there is usually a catch. Sometimes is fine print in the terms (that no one really reads), or stipulations in the cancellation policy that limit your options for if/when/how you cancel. When working with a travel advisor, you deal with me. Every time. I can help interpret those details and whether a “deal” is really a deal, or if it’s too good to be true. If you book through a large company (Expedia, Costco, etc) and you have an issue or even a question, the person who helps you on the phone doesn’t know you from the last person they spoke to. And you will get someone else the next time you call. As your travel advisor, I will know the details of your trip, your family, your child’s allergy, or your spouse’s accessibility needs. There’s a reason why I say that my services are “concierge level.”
Even when booking, (or quoting, or just researching) I handle the legwork and come back with what I find. I do all the work so all you have to do is dream about your vacation until it’s time to go.
Where do you see you and your business in 5 years? 10?
Booming. I can and I do help clients all over the country, but I would love to be a familiar face and name in the Milwaukee area. I would love my name to be synonymous with Disney travel. And cruise/all-inclusive/Universal/Hawaii/etc travel. About 90% of my new clients come from referrals and that is the main root of my growth this far. I have a referral program as my way of thanking my clients that refer me to their friends and family.
Ready to find out more?
Check out Dream Builders Travel today!