Best Culturally-Immersive Vacation Travel Planner (California)
ASTA Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019
American Society of Travel Advisor's Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019
Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Top to Watch 2019
Hampton Roads Chamber Top to Watch Award 2019
Inaugural Future Leaders in Travel
Future Leaders in Travel Retreat Participant 2018
CoVa Biz Magazine Community Impact Award Winner 2018
Coastal Virginia Business Magazine Community Impact Award Winner 2018
Best Host Travel Agency of 2021 | HAR's Luminary Awards!
Host Agency Reviews
In the good old days of 2019, before the term "social distance" was even a twinkle in our eye, the Host Agency Reviews crew got really existential during a team meeting one day and asked, "Who is the best Host Agency?"
This is a question HAR set out to answer in 2019. Lo and behold, now HARs Luminary Awards, which recognize the best host agencies out there, have become a time-honored tradition that carries into 2021.
You may be thinking, "it's impossible to say who is the best host agency! There cannot be just one!" And you're right. It's impossible. There are different hosts for different folks. There's so many great hosts out there, that we can't choose just one.
New Deal Europe Weekly Update on Tourism to the Balkan Region, Week 21
New Deal Europe
News from the markets: United States
In the week when the momentous events in the USA were top of the news agenda, we cross the pond to get the perspective of Ashley Metesh-McCoy, owner and founder of Kinship Vacations, a California based travel agency.
She tells us about the challenges faced by travel agents in the USA this year, how she thinks things may change under the new administration, and the implications for sustainable tourism and travel to Europe.
According to today’s guest, unemployment for military spouses is six to seven times higher than it is for the general population. This makes sense considering that military families move frequently. Starting over and finding a new job can be a challenge. Today’s guest experienced this herself. Ashley Metesh-McCoy was raised in the military and was used to the moves. She also served for about ten years. In this time, she met her husband, and now she is a military spouse and a veteran.
It’s no secret that our industry is full of visionaries. And a shining example of that is Ashley Metesh-McCoy of Kinship Travel in Carmel, California, winner of this year’s ASTA Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
What sets Metesh-McCoy apart is that she saw a very high rate of unemployment in a well-travelled and well-educated sector of the population: spouses and veterans.
“All that mobility is exactly part of the problem. It can be such a challenge to establish your own networks and community when every few years you have to move,” she explains. Herself an “army brat” and ex-military (she served in the National Guard in the U.S. and Afghanistan), Metesh-McCoy’s husband is still in the millitary.
Awarded the “Entrepreneur of the Year” at the ASTA Global Convention, Ashley Metesh-McCoy understands the importance of travel advisors, and will be using the award money she received to run Kinship Vacations, helping military spouses start their own travel agencies. An Army veteran, Metesh-McCoy has worked with Carnival Corporation, and it was there where she “became increasingly aware of the continued relevance of travel agents,” she says. “I learned that travel agents can still very much thrive despite the OTAs of the world.” Soon after, she joined the Gifted Travel Network’s Travel MBA program, and its host agency.
Lead magnets. IFOs. They go by many names and come in different shapes and sizes. But these giveaways can be a crucial tool to inspire a traveler to become a sales lead for a travel advisor, and with the right amount of nurturing, a paying client.
However, for many advisors, creating lead magnets (some kind of free travel content) is mysterious and daunting, and often causes them to never get started.
“For new travel advisors, lead magnets can be a very intimidating project,” said Ashley Metesh-McCoy, owner of Kinship Vacations, in Williamsburg, Virginia. “But email is still the No. 1 conversion tool for digital marketing, so I highly recommend lead magnets to fill your prospect database, so you can close more sales.”
Finalists for Top to Watch award | Small Business of the Year 2019
Three Top-to-Watch Businesses will be honored with awards for 2019. Here are the six nominees.
Kinship Vacations is a 100% woman, veteran, military spouse-owned and operated business. It provides portable career opportunities for military spouses/veterans spread across the United States and Europe. Its reach toward providing career opportunities in the military spouse community is growing every day.
This year promises to be a busy one for the travel industry, as record numbers of travelers take to the skies, the rivers and the seas. With more ships, more flights and less legroom than ever, Travel Market Report asked travel agents why they think a traveler should never travel without a professional travel advisor behind them. It’s a good list to share with your clients and prospects. Here’s what they said:
1. Travel is more complicated than ever.
With 24 new cruise ships coming online — never mind the new resorts and new airline fare categories — keeping with the options is a full-time job. And the growing trend toward groups of families and friends traveling together makes each trip a much more important purchase. Having a professional help with the planning and logistics can have a big impact on how much you spend on — and how much you enjoy — your vacation.
2. Travel advisors are on top of what’s new and exciting.
The world is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences in 2019. If you’d like to see The Passion Play at Oberammergau, the Tokyo Summer Olympics, the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, the cricket World Cup in Australia or the inaugural sailing of Virgin Cruise, travel professionals have access to the best tour packages and exclusive events, and they understand how to navigate the logistics, said Ashley Metesh-McCoy.
Number of Employees: No full-time employees, but they work with several independent contractors—all women, including seven military spouses and four veterans from all service branches.
What They Do: A travel design firm made up of a network of military spouses and veterans that help people plan unique travel experiences.
How They Help: Kinship strives to assist military spouses and veterans in a meaningful way by offering fulfilling, portable and potentially lucrative travel career opportunities that can fully utilize their education, skills and knowledge of travel.
Online Travel Career Summit for Military Spouses and Veterans
Unemployment and underemployment of military spouses is approximately four times higher than the general population. Travel-related careers offer a potential solution to this problem.
WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia - May 7-11, 2018 - Ashley Metesh-McCoy, Owner of Kinship Vacations, LLC, and a military spouse and veteran, will host a week of education and exploration into careers in the travel industry. The information, designed specifically for her fellow military spouses and veterans will be shared via Facebook Live segments.
Military Veterans and Family Members Encouraged to Become Travel Agents
Travel Market Report
As America prepares to celebrate its military members this Memorial Day weekend, industry organizations and individual travel agents are looking to enroll veterans and their family members in the travel advisor profession.
Host agency Nexion recently launched the "Nexion Veterans in Travel" scholarship program, to introduce and support veterans in exploring travel agent careers. The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition for the Travel Leaders of Tomorrow Virtual Campus training program, while waiving all membership fees for eligible scholarship recipients for up to 24 months.
The Travel Leaders of Tomorrow program, which normally costs $1,800, includes the 17-week, four-module online course, weekly live instruction in a small study group, and business plan guidance. Activation and monthly fees waived under the program amount to more than $400.
Nexion President Jackie Friedman, CTC, CTIE, said a coach works with all new entrants in the program, and that Nexion has a number of veteran agents who are interested in mentoring participants in the program.
While Travel Leaders Group is throwing its national strength behind its program, travel agent and veteran Ashley Metesh-McCoy is launching her own grassroots effort to educate military service members and their spouses about a career as an independent contractor (IC) working for her two-year old company, Kinship Vacations, in Fort Eustis, Virginia.
Ashley Metesh-McCoy has only been selling travel since November 2016, so she’s still in growth mode, with the uneven cash flow to match. But that didn’t stop this solo travel agent from taking a bold step last October. She began outsourcing certain business tasks so she could focus on growing her agency.
Metesh-McCoy is owner and “head experience curator” of Kinship Vacations, a home-based travel agency in Williamsburg, Virginia. Last fall, less than a year after launching her business, she hired a professional social media manager.
Celebrate Your Bachelor Party Without the Doghouse
Looking for a place to let loose, blow off some steam, make memories with your best buddies before your wedding and not end up in the doghouse after the bachelor party is over?
“Despite their reputation, bachelor parties don’t have to be a cause for tension for engaged couples,” said Megan Velez, Destination Weddings Travel Group.
“Rather than booking tickets for a Hangover-inspired trip to Las Vegas, consider jetting off to tropical destinations like Mexico, the Dominican Republic or Costa Rica. In addition to soaking up the sun on the beach, the group can get into all sorts of adrenaline-filled adventures, like zip lining, scuba diving and mountain trekking. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t catch some drinks at the resort bar—it just means you’ll get to experience a variety of activities throughout your stay."
“The resort is huge, sits on a gorgeous beach, has both the best casino and best golf course in the Caribbean and plenty of things to do,” said Locke of Book Better Travel.
“Horse races, such as the Kentucky Derby or European car races, such as the Monaco Grand Prix, can be a very fun and classy way for guys to get away together,” said Ashley Metesh-McCoy, owner of Kinship Vacations, in Fort Eustis, Virginia.