Today’s episode is all about travel coaching and we’re hearing from no other than the woman who helped pioneer this new and fast-growing sector of the travel industry, Sahara Rose, the founder of The Travel Coach Network.
This isn’t the first time we’ve covered travel coaching on the show. Back in episode 20, I chatted with Geneva Lutomski, the founder of Unwrap Your Map, which is a travel coaching service that specifically aims to help young adults take the plunge and travel abroad.
In today’s episode with Sahara, we dive even further into the world of travel coaching and talk through what it means to be a travel coach, the different niches that you can specialize in within the travel coaching industry, how to determine which is best for you, and how to get started and land your first clients as well. Sahara also shares her personal journey as a travel coach and how she has grown her business specifically in the wellness niche.
This episode is really essential listening if you are at all interested in travel coaching, but even if you’re not, I think there is still something to be learned from Sahara, as she really does have a brilliant business mind and we dive into topics around publicity and marketing as well.
Becoming a travel coach
Growing up, Sahara never really knew what her career path was going to be. Travel didn’t cross her mind, because her family didn’t travel a lot, so she was never exposed to that world.
She had many different skills and talents and changed majors quite a bit. For her third year of university, she moved to Chicago and thought it would be cool to do a hospitality and tourism program. In that program, she was surrounded by people who loved traveling, and foreign exchange students, so she felt really inspired and decided she would figure out a way that she could travel.
Her journey started with a backpacking trip to Europe, and she fell in love with travel. After years of travel, she knew she wanted to work in travel but didn’t know what she wanted to do. “I knew that I did not enjoy planning and booking trips for other people, I didn’t wanna be a travel agent. I didn’t wanna be a flight attendant. I actually have a fear of flying. I didn’t want to be a blogger. I don’t enjoy writing. I do have a blog, but it was never something to be monetized.”
With over a decade of travel experience, she met so many people that she really got a sense of why people travel and what they get out of it. “I talked to them about why they traveled or what they were looking for when they traveled because I found a disconnect in the travel industry with how travel was being marketed.”
Sahara noticed travel marketing focused on amenities, showing pretty pictures, and talking about everything there is to do. But on her travels, she heard about really meaningful reasons why people travel. Whether it was that they were dealing with grief or another difficult experience in life, or they wanted to spend quality time with family, their reasons for travel weren’t the same as the things that travel marketing focused on.
She also noticed that there was a lot of buzz around leaving the 9-5 to travel the world, and she wondered why companies weren’t paying more attention to this. She started researching corporate burnout and business travel burnout, and she wanted to make a difference in the world of travel. So that’s when she decided to become a travel coach and focus on wellness.
What is travel coaching?
There are a lot of people who want to travel, but who are, for some reason, afraid to go. Maybe they don’t know what to do, they’re afraid to go alone, or something happened in their life that has made them afraid to travel. And then there are travel coaches and experts who’ve had similar experiences and can relate to them.
“There’s this connection between, you know, putting the right experts in front of the people who they can really relate to. And that’s what a travel coach is about. It’s not about planning and booking trips. It’s for people who understand you or help you set those intentions for your trip so that you can have the best outcomes, transformations, feelings that you’re looking for.”
For herself, Sahara has focused on a very different niche, as a wellness travel coach. She doesn’t do any one-on-one work with individual clients, but she works with companies on things like business travel, corporate wellness, and also with hotels and destinations that are interested in a more holistic approach to wellness.
“My business model itself is to educate, empower, guide, and support companies. Whether they’re travel agencies, whether they’re hotels or they’re any sort of tourism, hospitality brand, or destination, to think outside the box and figure out what it is that they can offer.”
Sahara believes that travel has healing benefits beyond just spas, gyms, and meditation, so something she does is help hotels and destinations identify what else there is that they could offer based on their location. This might be around tapping into natural resources or creating human connections. Because if you think about it, your most memorable travel experiences are usually around those things.
Starting The Travel Coach Network
When she started out as a travel coach and was posting about it online, a lot of other travelers were interested in travel coaching and what it was.
Luckily, as Sahara started her travel coaching business, she’d been keeping track of everything she did to build her business. So over time, she was able to turn it into a program that was eventually accredited by the International Coach Federation.
“So that’s the main program that I run, where I help other travelers figure out, you know, what does travel coaching mean for them? What can they do? Or there’s doctors, travel agents, physicians, lawyers, people with so many different backgrounds, life coaches, health coaches, who combine travel coaching with what they already do.”
More from this episode
- Learn more about travel coaching, how it works, how you could help people, what opportunities there are in travel coaching, and you could combine travel coaching with what you’re already doing, for example as a travel agent.
- Sahara shares more about the work she does as a wellness travel coach and how she helps companies.
- Find out how Sahara has managed to get a lot of press attention for her businesses. Listen to hear her tips on getting publicity for your business, regardless of whether you’re a travel coach, or you do something else. How to pitch for press opportunities, where to find opportunities, and how to approach networking and relationship building to get opportunities.
- Sahara shares more of her marketing strategies. How does she get people to come to her rather than having to keep chasing new clients? Again, her insights are great not just for travel coaches, but any client-focused travel business.
Learn more about Sahara
Sahara Rose De Vore is a Wellness Travel Coach and the Founder of The Travel Coach Network. Sahara Rose is a global traveler, published author, and pioneer in the travel coaching and wellness travel industries, and has been seen in over 100 media outlets including Forbes, Travel Weekly, and National Geographic Traveller India. She shares her best tips for getting started as a travel coach in her Beginner’s Guide here: https://thetravelcoachnetwork.mykajabi.com/main-email-series-and-workbook