As part of my series about the “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Terika L. Haynes of Dynamite Travel.
Dynamite Travel, LLC is a five-star rated luxury travel consultancy that has been providing travel planning service excellence to clients for over a decade. Dynamite Travel, LLC is also a nationally certified minority small business. Dynamite Travel, LLC provides luxury travel planning services for: corporate events, group events, destination weddings, honeymoons, and individual travel. Dynamite Travel, LLC also offers high-quality products through their eCommerce stores which currently includes mobility scooters and luxury luggage products.
Dynamite Travel was founded by Dr. Terika L. Haynes in 2008. Dr. Haynes is a savvy business professional who sought out to create a company that would not only assist customers with purchasing travel services and products but would also assist customers with creating unique travel experiences. As such, Dynamite Travel, LLC is a company dedicated to creating unforgettable vacation experiences and making sure that each client’s experience with Dynamite Travel is So Dynamite!
Over the years, Dr. Haynes found herself most comfortable within the luxury travel realm as she experienced one destination after another. As such, she has dedicated her focus to providing luxury vacation experiences for her clients. With over 15 years of sales and consulting experience, solid business acumen, and management knowledge, Dr. Haynes has the credentials, experience, and expertise necessary to make sure that your luxury vacation endeavors are a blast. Dynamite Travel, LLC is committed to providing personalized service of the highest quality to each client that they serve. Dynamite Travel’s execution of industry research and sales techniques will ensure that you will have memorable luxury vacation adventures that are So Dynamite!
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Iinitially started working as a travel advisor to earn extra money to address my student loan balance. Once I started working I discovered how much I enjoyed being a travel advisor and decided to expand my business and work as a full time entrepreneur.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
In an effort to appear formal and professional I mistakenly addressed a woman with the Mr. salutation because I assumed that the name she had was that of a male. From this lesson I learned to never make assumptions and to always be diligent about doing research.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Jordan Gill’s Systems Saved Me is an excellent podcast that I listen to frequently. The podcast discusses various forms of automation and tools that leaders can use to work efficiently and yield high performance. The podcast has helped me to save money on staffing costs by using automation tools. Instead of paying someone for the manual labor I’ve been able to set up systems that save me time and money.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
My vision has always been to bring awareness to travelers to help them see that there are many forms of travel and that travel is a reasonable hobby that almost everyone can do (despite beliefs that only wealthy people can travel). My purpose has been to work to give as many people memorable vacation experiences as possible while also getting them to step outside of their comfort zones and try something new.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
My number one principle is to be a forward thinker. If you can have the ability to be forward in your thinking it can help you to identify opportunities sooner and stay ahead of the curve.
Thank you for all that. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
The travel industry has been significantly affected by the global pandemic. A number of weeks early on were especially difficult as I was tasked with cancelling many reservations and rebooking travel while also having to homeschool my child. I’ve found that creating a schedule has helped to bring structure to a chaotic time and also gives the family the opportunity to make the best use of our time at home together.
Can you share a few of the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
The largest work-related challenge has been working through numerous travel cancellations and figuring out ways to rebound from huge financial losses. To respond to this challenge, I’ve created luxury ‘staycation’ package options for travelers to experience and discover fun things to do in their own backyard so that they do not have to travel far from their home but they can still have memorable travel experiences.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?
My family has implemented fun activities to do while we are at home to ease the tension and concerns that have been caused by the global pandemic. Examples of activities that we’ve done are fashion shows, sushi making, food science experiments and more. These activities have been fun for both the kids and adults in the home.
Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-Covid growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?
I anticipate that the post-covid economy will give me the opportunity to market my newly created luxury staycation packages as well as venture off into new partnerships with other businesses. I also anticipate that I’ll have the opportunity to market my brand to new clients.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
I think social distancing will be a practice that is here to stay and this will change the way travel is done. Travel falls under the hospitality umbrella so we will all be tasked with finding creative ways to still provide memorable vacation experiences for travelers even if the ‘personal touch’ aspect of hospitality has to be revised.
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-Covid economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-Covid Economy?
I look forward to building strong partnerships with other businesses. While travelers may have bene the focus in the past, I do think the only way that we’re all going to make it out on top is to help each other. I also plan to lean on social media marketing techniques to further grow my brand. Now that everyone is home there are people that may be using social media for the first time and that will be a brand-new market of travelers to engage with.
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
I would encourage others to use this time to tap into their creativity. Look at implementing out of the box products and services that can help differentiate them from their competitors. I would also encourage others to use this opportunity to personally connect with their clients. For example, everyone is at home now so this is a great time to reach out to clients by phone and tell them thank you for their support.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of my favorite life lesson quotes is “Behind every great woman is herself” There have been times in my career when I was told that I could not do something because I was a woman. This quote reminds me that it is okay to be bold and confident as a woman. The quote also reminds me that if I don’t believe in myself no one else will.
How can our readers further follow your work?
Readers can visit our website at www.sodynamite.com or find us @dynamitetravel on all social media platforms.