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Meet Tricia Kelly of Imagination Destinations Travel in Easton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tricia Kelly.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have been asking myself for the last 20 years – “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Much of that stems from my college education as I went to Bridgewater State College and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts. I thoroughly enjoyed my college experience and always tease that I sang and danced my way to a degree. Of course, post graduation I didn’t do much singing and dancing and took a job as an Administrative Assistant to pay those student loans. That is the path I have continued on for the last 20 years.

Sometime in 2013 as I was planning a Disney trip, a co-worker mentioned to me that I should become a travel agent for Disney! I was intrigued and started to research it and found so many agencies I could apply to! I fired off a few applications – this was not an easy process – and shortly thereafter I was hired as a Contractor for an Agency down South but could work from my home! A dream come true! As time went on and I learned more about this business I dreamed of one day owning my own Agency. I started to become known in my circles as the Disney lady and my little travel business was booming. As the next couple of years went on I reconnected with former college friends and co-workers and we started to talk about the what ifs of starting an Agency.

I have heard stories like this my whole life – one day you wake up with an idea or a vision and them Bam! it’s a reality. This is literally what happened to me. I woke up with the image of a hot air balloon and three figures riding in the basket and I could see exactly what they looked like down to the smallest detail. I am blessed to have an amazing artist friend, Jim Gross, and immediately emailed him to see if he could draw this for me. The name was on the tip of my tongue and just rolled off as soon as the image was in my mind. About a week later the logo and the company name were finalized and my dream was one step closer to reality.

In January of this year that dream became a reality and Imagination Destinations Travel was launched. Currently, the Agency consists of myself and 8 Contractors and growing.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I would say the biggest struggle was the hours of research it took to figure out what was needed to start a company. I spent hours and hours scouring the internet to learn all about the business side of owning a Travel Agency. There were papers to file, certifications to obtain and an entire strategy to formulate. It took about 4 months to really get a clear picture of what was needed and how to do it. I am thankful I have some really great business minded friends who helped me with a lot of it along the way.

Please tell us about Imagination Destinations Travel.
Imagination Destinations Travel is an independent Travel Agency specializing in Disney Destinations and more.

We are based in New England but have begun to expand and now have a presence in North Carolina and Arizona. All of our Agents are Disney experts and have been through the College of Disney Knowledge to be authorized to book all Disney Destinations including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani a Disney Resort in Hawaii, Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney. In addition to that, each of our Agents has a specialty or two ranging from Universal Orlando Parks & Resorts, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Caribbean All-Inclusive Vacation Packages, European Destinations and more!

There are dozens of independent Travel Agencies now and more are cropping up each day. I think what sets us apart from the rest is the connection we make with each and every one of our clients. I have been in the industry for almost 5 years now and have many repeat clients and referrals from those clients. They are not only my clients but many of them have become great friends with whom I connect with daily on Social Media and email. I genuinely care for my clients and are interested in how their life is going. It’s fun to watch the little ones grow up and see all of their vacation experiences up close and personal. I enjoying keeping in touch with them even after their vacation is over. Booking a vacation with a Travel Agent to me is much more than picking a place to go and paying for it. It is about building that relationship so you can take your travel knowledge and match it to the client’s likes and interests. If you build that relationship, every vacation planned will be a homerun! Plus, it doesn’t cost anymore to book a vacation with a Travel Agent. We can get done in a fraction of the time what it might take a client months of research to do.

I am very proud of the brand we are establishing and are quickly becoming known as a go-to for Disney Vacations. I am extremely proud of my Team as well as some of them had zero professional Travel Agent experience and have jumped in with both feet and are doing wonderfully!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
There isn’t much I would have done differently really. There is still a learning curve with a lot of this and every day I am discovering more and more what I could do or how I could make things better. For the most part, I did everything I could to launch a successful Agency and I think we have proven that. If I did have to start over I would probably have done this sooner!

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