Episode Topic: Join us on another episode of TravelPreneur, as we embark on a deep dive into the captivating world of transformative travel experiences. In this episode, we’ll unravel the unique and pioneering approach of Sahara Rose De Vore, Founder & CEO of The Travel Coach Network, redefining journeys and empowering travelers. Discover the insights and innovations that are shaping the future of the travel coaching industry.
Lessons You’ll Learn: In this episode, you’ll uncover the synergy of Sahara Rose De Vore’s diverse background in Hospitality, Tourism Management, and coaching, shaping her remarkable journey. We’ll explore The Travel Coach Network’s pioneering approach to crafting transformative travel experiences, along with the first ICF-accredited certification program for Travel Coaches that contributes to a global community. Additionally, you’ll learn about the impact of a searchable database of travel coaches, connecting travelers with the right guides for their journeys.
About Our Guest: Sahara Rose De Vore is the Founder & CEO of The Travel Coach Network. With a background in Hospitality and Tourism Management, along with certifications as a Transformational Coach and Corporate Wellness Specialist, Sahara brings a unique perspective to the travel industry. She is dedicated to redefining travel experiences and empowering travel coaches. She is also a globe-trotting author and owner of WTTM Consulting Group with her passport filled from 84 countries!
Topics Covered: In this episode, we explore Sahara’s extraordinary journey, marked by her unique blend of expertise in various domains. The Travel Coach Network’s innovative approach to transformative travel experiences and the groundbreaking world of the first ICF-accredited certification program for Travel Coaches, make a significant impact on a global community of travel enthusiasts. Additionally, we uncover the tangible benefits of a searchable database of travel coaches, backed by compelling real-world success stories that highlight its value in connecting travelers with the perfect guides for their journeys.
Our Guest: Meet Sahara Rose De Vore: Revolutionizing Travel Coaching and Wellness
Sahara Rose De Vore, the Founder & CEO of The Travel Coach Network, is a visionary leader in the travel and wellness industries. With a rich and diverse background in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Sahara’s journey has been nothing short of remarkable. Her unique blend of expertise, coupled with her passion for transformative travel, has propelled her into a dynamic and influential role within the industry.
In addition to her entrepreneurial endeavors, Sahara is a TEDx Speaker, Published Author, and the Owner of WTTM Consulting Group. Her exceptional contributions and pioneering work in the field were recently acknowledged when she was honored as one of “2023’s Most Influential Women in Travel” by TravelPulse, a testament to her commitment to reshaping travel experiences and her relentless pursuit of personal and professional growth through travel.
Sahara’s vision transcends traditional notions of travel. She places a strong emphasis on holistic wellness, personal development, and the transformative power of meaningful human connections in travel experiences. Her mission is to revolutionize the way we perceive and engage with travel, turning it into a catalyst for individual and collective growth. As the Founder of The Travel Coach Network, Sahara introduced the world’s first ICF-accredited certification program for Travel Coaches, significantly contributing to a global community of travel enthusiasts. Moreover, the network’s innovative searchable database of travel coaches underscores her dedication to facilitating authentic connections between travelers and expert guides.
Sahara Rose De Vore: We have travel coaches who are widows themselves, and they help other women who have experienced loss or coping with grief to really find themselves again in life and really use travel as that vessel for them to rediscover who they are and what they’re looking for. And so we have a travel coach in particular, who works with other clients who not necessarily have to be widows as well but have experiences in that loss and grief and losing who they are and not knowing, not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in life again.
Megha McSwain: Welcome to TravelPreneur, the weekly business show for the travel industry. I’m your host, Houston-based travel journalist Megha McSwain. In each episode, we’ll be exploring what it takes to thrive as a business owner in the travel industry. From conversations with leading travel business executives and industry-focused venture capitalists to exploring the innovations that are shaping the next generation of travel business. If it impacts the travel industry, we cover it here on TravelPreneur.
Hello and welcome to another episode of TravelPreneur, your portal to the fascinating world of travel business innovation. I’m your host, Megha McSwain. Today, we’re honored to have Sahara Rose De Vore, founder and CEO of The Travel Coach Network, with us. Hello, Sahara. Thanks for joining us.
Sahara Rose De Vore: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
Megha McSwain: Sahara: it’s such a pleasure to have you here because with your impressive background in hospitality and tourism management, along with your certifications as a transformational coach and corporate wellness specialist, you bring such a unique perspective to our podcast. Can you share a little bit about your journey and what brought you to this point with Travel Coach?
Sahara Rose De Vore: Yeah, absolutely. I’m not someone who grew up traveling very much. We didn’t do very much travel in our family or come from a very middle-class family. Our extension of traveling was in the family van from northern in the states, so Wisconsin, down to Mexico to visit my grandmother’s family, and then up to Canada to visit my grandfather’s family. But I was so young, I barely remember that, and it just never really crossed my mind. We didn’t have people in my family that traveled for business. My grandma passed away within the last few years and never had been on a plane before. So I always knew, though, that I was going to do something big in my life, but I didn’t know what that was. I also was never someone who knew what my career path was going to be. I had all my friends graduating from high school and then going into university, and they knew what they wanted to major in, and I just wasn’t that person. I tried different topics and subjects and had a lot of interest and a lot of skills, but I just was like, I don’t know what I want to do for a career, like, what am I really passionate about?
And it was my third year of university. I was transferring schools, I was moving back to the Midwest, and I had a very small window of time to find a new school to go to and therefore, what was I going to apply to study for? And I came across a hospitality and tourism program, and that is when I was like. well, who doesn’t like to travel, right? Like I’m like, I’ll look into this. So I got accepted and I moved to Chicago, and that program was a catalyst of me getting the idea of, I really want to go and see more of the world. I was really inspired by all of the other students in the class, my professor, and everyone. They were from Europe or Southeast Asia, where I had learned how easy it was to travel from country to country. And here in the States, we’re so far from other countries other than Canada and Mexico. It just never crossed my mind. So I was really inspired. So that was when I decided that I was going to figure out a way, as a broke college student, to be able to travel. And two years later, upon graduating, and sure enough, I was able to do that. And it was during that journey I spent the next ten years backpacking to 84 countries, solo, that I saw voids in the tourism industry. And that’s what ultimately led me to creating what I have now in the world of travel coaching.
Megha McSwain: So can you share how The Travel Coach Network is creating transformative and international travel experiences for individuals and for companies?
Sahara Rose De Vore: Yeah, so I myself am a wellness travel coach, so I’m the one that focuses in the corporate space. I was always very passionate about wellness when it came to business travelers and corporate wellness, because I had heard about this thing of people quitting the 9 to 5 to travel the world, and I thought it was really interesting that companies weren’t paying attention to this. I was wondering why were these industry executives quitting their corporate job to pursue travel. And so I started diving into all of that research on the mental, emotional, spiritual wellness benefits of travel. But when I started that business, that was in 2018, and in early 2019, I had founded The Travel Coach Network with other people asking me about travel coaching. So basically travel coaching, what we do and how we really help people transform their travel experiences are the TCN works with the travel coaches themselves, and trains and certifies the travel coaches.
And the foundation of a travel coach is not the focus of the planning and booking phase like a travel agent would do, but instead help people use travel as a tool for transformation, so getting people to understand why they want to go away. What are they looking to get out of this experience? Where is this motivating factor for you to escape or to quit the 9 to 5? Like, where is this desire for a trip coming from? Because what we realize is that when you can really identify and set intentions for why you want to go on a trip, you can make better decisions on what kind of destinations to go to, what kind of experiences to have. Do you need to go to a place where it’s a little bit more off the beaten path? Do you need some time for self-reflection and a solo adventure? Do you need quality time with? Your loved ones because based on all of this research, travel can really help us in so many different aspects of our lives, whether it’s relationships, human connection, social interaction, our mental well-being, our physical well-being. But it’s a really missed opportunity in the travel industry if we don’t tap into that. And it starts with the travel professional, and that’s what we do as travel coaches.
Megha McSwain: Right, travel can be so therapeutic but if you do it the right way. Hiking through the mountains may not be therapeutic to someone who wants to go to a beach resort. It’s just totally different. Everyone wants something different. So with The Travel Coach Network, you develop the world’s first searchable database of travel coaches. How does this database help travelers and businesses connect with the right coach?
Sahara Rose De Vore: So we’re working on building that, the largest database of travel coaches. We’re the only platform of travel coaches out there that we hold the world’s first and only ICF-accredited program. And then we’re building our database of those travel coaches. And when it comes to what we mean by searchable, is that every travel coach focuses on something so different. They all have interests and experiences and expertise in so many different areas, and they serve different people. It’s really based on the pain points of their clients. So instead of the traditional categories that we see in the travel agent world, like cruise experts or family travel, or luxury travel, travel coaches go so much more specific than that. And that’s what we have tailored our database to be able to do is really allow the client, the traveler, to really understand what it is that they’re looking for and find that individual that can best relate to them.
Megha McSwain: And you mentioned the ICF Accredited Certification program. Can you tell me a little bit more about the program and how it contributes to that community?
Sahara Rose De Vore: Yeah, so our certification program is our flagship program. That is where a travel coach learns everything that it is that they need to know. On jumpstarting their own travel coaching business, how to be a travel coach, how to run an online travel coaching business, how to get clients, and all of that. And it’s something that we have been really evolving over the years, based off of the feedback of our members and the changes in the industry. So now it’s just it’s a global platform, global certification program. And we have people from all around the world who are certified in it.
Megha McSwain: Do you have a real-life story that you can share with us of maybe a travel coach that had connected with someone, that it’s really affected them in a positive way, and it really worked out.
Sahara Rose De Vore: No, you mean like a travel coach working with a client, right? Yeah, definitely. I mean, we have so many testimonials of how our travel coaches have helped their clients over the years as well. But really, because everyone is so different, for example, we have travel coaches who are widows themselves and they help other women who have experienced loss or coping with grief to really find themselves again in life and really use travel as that vessel for them to rediscover who they are and what they’re looking for. We have a travel coach in particular, who works with other clients who not necessarily have to be widows as well, but have experiences in that loss and grief and losing who they are and not knowing, not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in life again. So her working with her clients and really understanding and hearing how she has helped them transform and find that clarity and that purpose in life again. And that’s really why we turn to travel as well. So many of us, we say like travel fulfils us, travel helps us find our purpose in life. And so seeing a travel coach and how our travel coaches are helping people actually use travel intentionally for that is really inspiring.
Megha McSwain: That’s amazing. That’s really something.
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Sahara Rose De Vore: Yeah. So that would tie into what I do as a wellness travel coach. So what I hear a lot of companies doing, because travel is something that brings a lot of diversity to the workplace, it brings a lot of understanding. The eye is a big topic in the industry. And then of course wellness as well. So really tapping into why it’s called a term called purposeful travel. In the world of business travel, which is a sector that I’m very much involved in and speak a lot in when it comes to wellness travel. So seeing how the business travel industry and the travel managers who are running these traveler-centric programs, which is something they’re working more and more on doing, really tap into these benefits of travel. So like, what is the purpose of really going on a business trip? So the thing like human connection, better understanding other cultures, getting creativity and inspiration through travel, really boosting the business travelers productivity levels and innovation levels by navigation and discovery and all these things that travel can bring to us. And again, this is all based on research. So what I do is I bring that to the table for the travel managers. So seeing the different companies really start to implement some of that little by little, in particular their wellness or their sustainability programs.
Megha McSwain: So as the CEO of the Travel Coach Network, what strategies? I mean, you mentioned research, but what strategies and initiatives have you undertaken to expand the reach and impact of the community? I mean, this is you’re serving a global audience. How do you manage to grow your reach with this company? I mean, word of mouth, I’m guessing.
Sahara Rose De Vore: Yeah. It’s still a learning process. The Travel Coach Network, like I said, was started in 2019. We saw a tremendous growth during and as we came out of the pandemic, and that was more of an organic growth. And the reason being was because what we realized is that people in the travel industry, so travel professionals of different sorts, whether they’re travel agents, tour operators, retreat leaders who had time because their businesses were put on halt during the pandemic, we saw them really start to rethink their original business models and the purpose that they had for their business and how they were showing up in their business and how they were helping others through travel. And so they organically started coming into Travel Coach Network to learn how they can add more meaning and purpose and authenticity to what they were so passionate about and how they really wanted to help others. So we do a variety of different things to get spread awareness about the travel coach network. And so social media is a big key tool for that. We’ve luckily been able to grow our social media team over the past several years now, and really just staying true to our authentic messaging. Our core message has always been that there’s far more to a travel career than just blogging or booking trips, which the industry has really put boundaries around for years, and said that these are the only options available for you. So our messaging just finds the right people and resonates with them. We have our paid advertisements as well too, on Facebook and Instagram, and Google. But really media publicity is something that we do. We spend a lot of time doing because it’s a fun way to spread our message and to connect with others, especially with the global reach that we can get with it.
Megha McSwain: So the company is fairly new and under five years old at this point and coming off of the pandemic, which is so impressive. But looking ahead, what developments or projects do you see in the future from the Travel Coach Network?
Sahara Rose De Vore: Yeah, we have a lot of really exciting things in store for 2024 when it comes to new products under the certification of for travel coaching as well, really taking that into different sectors of the travel industry and particularly the planning and booking industry, and then expanding that into the different sectors like the cruise industry and the hotel industry as well. So we newly launched a membership club, so we’re really working on expanding that to and making our resources and the value that we’ve always provided for those in the certification program to also be able to absorb some of that knowledge and experiences as well, and opportunities until they’re ready to invest into that program. What we realized is that not everyone wants to build a travel coaching business from complete scratch, but they’re looking to incorporate travel coaching into their current business. So we’ve naturally attracted people like travel bloggers, influencers and medical experts, life coaches. And so we’re expanding our trainings into how to incorporate travel coaching into what they currently have. So really just expanding our products across the board.
Megha McSwain: Cool. So for aspiring travel coaches or bloggers like you mentioned, writers, individuals interested in transformative travel, what advice would you offer them as they embark on this journey and realize that there’s a whole new world of being able to travel. Offer travel coaching.
Sahara Rose De Vore: Yeah, that’s a great question. I would probably say it’s like a very first thing is to really dive deep within yourself and ask yourself, what are you truly passionate about when it comes to travel? What has travel done for you? What’s that message that you want your ideal clients to really know and believe in when it comes to travel? And who is it that needs to hear that message and then figure out what does that look like? Meaning how do you actually want to help them? I always say just because coaching is in the term doesn’t mean you have to be working with people individually. As a coach, there’s different ways to structure that and create different revenue streams. But all of that comes later. But first, you have to really dig deep and ask yourself, what impact am I trying to make and what is my message that I truly care about that I want to amplify? And I find that’s where people get stuck because they’re trying to stay at a very surface level, which the industry has always really done. When we talk about why people travel to meet new people, to have great experiences, to relax on a beach, all those things really mean nothing until you get to below the surface of what do those things actually do for us on a human level. And then for the travel coach or travel professional aspect? Okay, now who needs to have that experience and who can that benefit? Who should really care about this, I should say. And then they can go from there.
Megha McSwain: Amazing. That’s really good advice. Well, thank you so much Sahara. This was so interesting because it always surprises me how many facets of travel we can really explore, things we never knew that were available to us. Thankfully, with the resources that we have now, like social media, these great connections that you’re able to make with coaches and people who want to travel the world really, really amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and for the transformative work you’re doing with The Travel Coach Network. Let people know where they can get in touch with you and where they can learn more about The Travel Coach Network.
Sahara Rose De Vore: Yeah, thank you so much for asking. If you would like to learn more about travel coaching itself, you can visit us at thetravelcoachnetwork.com. Or you can find us at The Travel Coach Network on things like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, across all of the platforms. If you want to connect with me, myself, I am Sahara Rose, the travel coach across all of the platforms.
Megha McSwain: Wonderful. Thank you so much. Thank you everyone for listening to the TravelPreneur podcast. Please follow and subscribe for future episodes and thank you so much Sahara. Take care everyone.
Sahara Rose De Vore: Thank you.
Megha McSwain: You’ve been listening to TravelPreneur by travelpayments.com. Make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast listening platform so you never miss a new episode, and we’ll see you again soon on TravelPreneur.