Somehow, Jennifer Doncsecz was able to find time in her jam-packed schedule to sit down and speak with Home-Based Travel Agent. The personable president of VIP Vacations Inc., which is a home-based agency in Whitehall, PA, that also serves as a host agency, has spent years jetting around the world providing her clients with firsthand knowledge of their desired vacation spot. Recently, Doncsecz returned from escorting a high school marching band to Walt Disney World.
"Most of our local sales are marching bands," Doncsecz says, noting that it's hard to be a travel agent for high schools because of the amount of personal attention they desire. However, Doncsecz often goes the extra mile to provide that little bit of additional care. The energetic agent personally takes a trip to schools to meet with students and parents.
This is a long way from Doncsecz's beginnings in the travel business. She started selling travel because she wanted a part-time job, and her marketing professor told her that she should sell what she loved. Having always loved travel, it seemed like the right fit. The Sandals and Beaches expert started doing sales from home when she was on bed rest for three months while pregnant with her son. A year after his birth, and still selling travel from her home, Doncsecz decided to branch out and start her own busines—and VIP Vacations Inc. was born. In 2002, Doncsecz took on outside agents and expanded to a host agency. Today, the 15-year vet of the travel biz has 13 agents under her wing, all located throughout the East Coast.
These days, Doncsecz's schedule is not only packed with flights around the world but also with media appearances. She has been interviewed by CNN, she is PBS' go-to gal for passport updates, and she is the travel correspondent for Fox News in Philadelphia. VIP Vacations' nod as number one in the nation for group sales to Sandals and Beaches resorts might have spearheaded this newfound media attention.
Sales Skills Are Key; Travel Can Be Learned
When hiring new agents, Doncsecz is very selective. She looks for young and enthusiastic agents who haven't been jaded by 9/11 or the Internet. Overall, she is looking for good sales people: "The travel part can be learned," she says. Other potential candidates who might get the gig are moms who decided to work from home and have a zeal for making money, but also have a career mentality and want to see themselves grow. "They have a vested interest in being a travel agent," Doncsecz says. The new, younger agents must have "sales in their blood."
Fun is on the agenda at VIP Vacations Inc.: Its sales are all leisure, comprised of 60 percent honeymoons in the Caribbean and Mexico and 40 percent group travel. Doncsecz and her group also give off a fun vibe when they go to conventions and other travel functions; her "pink ladies" were so named for their vibrant fashion choices.
"Six years ago, when we went to conventions, I would have my agents wear something pink so I could find them," Doncsecz says, adding that it now is her company's signature branding color.
Doncsecz believes in what she sells. She's travelled the world; however, when asked to name her favorite spot, she doesn't hesitate: "The Sandals Grande St. Lucian. It's the best Sandals out there."