Debra Asberry, founder and president of Women Traveling Together, talks about how she got involved in the women's travel market and what has kept her business going strong for seventeen years.
Filling a Niche
Debra Asberry founded Women Traveling Together in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1997, filling a travel market niche that her own experience led her to identify. Hoping to take a rafting trip on the Colorado River, she discovered that finding someone who shared the interest was difficult. "For years, I looked for someone to go with me." Finding friends with similar finances, free time, and travel desires was a challenge.
Safety, of course, is a major concern, and Debra uses a variety of resources to make sure her trips are adventurous, yet safe for travelers. Conducting site visits, using contacts at the National Travel Association, and working with travel partners who are on the ground provides the information she needs to make prudent decisions about global destinations. "We constantly monitor situations, and aren't afraid to change plans. Safety comes first."
Options and Interests
From the glitz of the Italian Riviera to the spiritual importance of the Holy Land, from kayaking the Baja Peninsula to desert retreats with life coaches in Arizona, Debra has created a range of options to cover every interest and activity level. Each trip's itinerary is detailed in-depth on the Women Traveling Together website, allowing clients to match themselves to the opportunity best suited to their interests and level of activity, and Debra works closely with clients to ensure a good fit. She recommends a walking regimen for a few weeks before the trip, offers tips on packing light so clients can handle their own belongings, and provides other resources through an extensive website that includes an online network where travelers could connect, providing opportunities for tour group members to get to know each other before their trip and to help them build relationships.
More than fifty percent of her clients travel with her every year. Debra says communication and developing long-term relationships have been the keys to her success. Whether working with her travel partners to provide the elements that make for a great trip, or working with clients to identify their needs and interests, clear communication is what makes her trips successful.
Written by: Jennifer Reynolds, Groups Today staff writer, wrote the original version of this article.