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  • Emily Kern

Small Business Spotlight: Heather Houtman of Winsome Travel Design

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

As we’re all cooped up inside for the foreseeable future (thanks COVID19), why not spend some time thinking about where we want to go once this is over? As a detail-oriented, frugal, Enneagram 6, I get overwhelmed by searching for the *perfect* vacation destination. I could spend an infinite amount of time searching for the most convenient flight, reading reviews for every restaurant / state park / cruise ship, and laying out the details of our vacation. Can anyone relate? Our next spotlight guest is an expert at doing this FOR us so that we can enjoy our vacation without the stressful planning! Meet Heather, owner of Winsome Travel Design.

Heather, give us your background and explain why traveling is so important to you personally.

As a family we always found traveling to be important. It helped us reconnect with each other, even if it was a short drive from home. Without the strong influences of the outside world, we found our connections in each other. My mom passed away suddenly and we had never taken a long family trip - but that was something that she desired for us, so we decided as a way to remember Oma we would plan it out. Off to Turks and Caicos Beaches Resort we went. It turned out to be the best thing we’ve done with our children, as they were able to learn in a way we had not anticipated- through new experiences.

If you could go anywhere in the world this summer, where would you go and why?

Savannah Georgia- My husband and I went to Savannah last year for a short weekend getaway. We loved everything about the area and want to share it with our son. The history of the area was so astonishing and really hard to even fathom. I was blown away.

I am a Caribbean destination lover but I found a location in the pacific that I am absolutely enamored with- Cook Islands. When you think of the typical dream location a lot of people think of Bora Bora/Fiji/Tahiti but those are places that people talk about because that’s where others dream of visiting. I like an off-the-map place that has hidden gems.

Tell us about the beginnings of Winsome Travel Design. When did you start, and what's your mission?

I started Winsome Travel Design in February 2018. We have always personally used an Advisor and my friends and family often would reach out to me for advice on travels. My dream was to educate everyone that travel is possible. Often others would ask how we could afford the vacations we were taking - and my answer was always research. I wanted to help others that did not have the time or knowledge to do the research for themselves.

What are the top three "Frequently Asked Questions" that you receive about your services, and how do you answer them?

How much do you cost? My services are FREE for you to use.

How are you making money then? Travel Advisors are paid commissions by the hotel/resorts and/or the tour suppliers. If you book with a tour operator like Apple Vacations you have paid for a travel advisors service that you did not receive- CRAZY right?

Will I get a deal working with an Advisor? Pricing in this industry is fairly standard but as Advisors we know discount codes or current promotions that may save you some money. Beyond that we can get you added amenities at the resort or hotel (welcome gift/champagne/wine). We also are there to provide you peace of mind that you are in our hands the entire trip, as we are on call 24/7 while you travel.

What 's one thing you're learning at this stage in your business?

People love personalized service, we really aren't into lets just book that trip. We want information and a person to talk things through with, someone to tell us the hard earned money we are spending is worth every penny!

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?

Reach out to others in the industry you are interested in and ask them very frank questions - not just the good one but also the uglies, and get into what a typical day looks like.

And there you have it, folks. I hope this helps as you plan your next vacay!

Emily Kern

KORE Talents Consulting

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