Teri Young started in the travel industry in 1993 at a local mom-and-pop operation. Two years later, she moved to a large Sacramento agency—a move, she says, was triggered by “challenge of the volume.”
“I became the second-highest-producing leisure agent in six months,” she remembers. “I wanted to specialize, get more focused, but the owner at that time did not agree. So I left that store and started DreamCatcher in August 1996.”
A Hawaii and Disney specialist, Young says she always puts her clients’ needs first, “sharing my expertise, my education, my personal stories with my clients to help make their time on vacation the best it can be. For me, it’s not about the ‘total dollars,’ but the value achieved for each individual vacation. I take every person’s budget, concerns, needs, dreams and expectations into consideration...and then build the perfect vacation.”
Young is particularly enamored of Hawaii, terming the islands “so much more than a place with beaches and hotels!” She tries to send people to Hawaii “for the experience, for the culture, for the history and the special people. Every visitor I send to Hawaii sees this mystical place for the first time, even if they have been there before.”
With many clients concerned about spending on travel during a recession, Young takes the time to assuage their fears. “I listen to what people want, and what they are concerned about,” she says. “Then I use my years of experience to assure potential clients, and hopefully win their trust.
I never compromise my own expertise, though, for the sake of a sale.”
One of the more memorable vacations she put together involved a large family that wanted a Disney vacation but couldn’t agree on where they wanted it or what exactly they wanted. Some were for Walt Disney World, while others preferred a cruise. “Some of them wanted one particular resort at Walt Disney World, others...well you see what was happening,” she says. “The only thing they agreed on was when they could leave.”
Adding to the challenge was the fact that the entire vacation could only last two weeks at most. “I listened, and took notes, took everyone’s name, got a number, and promised to call right back.” Ultimately, she was able to reserve Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge for five nights, a four-night Disney Cruise from Port Canaveral and five nights at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. “I included everything for them,” she says proudly. The compromise worked, and the family was “absolutely shocked and could not have been happier.”