For the last six years, personal travel manager (PTM) Gayle Dawson has been using her expert travel knowledge and personal experience as a ‘Dance Mum’ to create tailored independent and guided dance tours for dance studios and their families.
The enterprise has been so successful that Dawson is now partnering with other PTMs within the TravelManagers network to grow her Destination Dance business nationwide.
Executive general manager Michael Gazal said this co-operation is typical of the company’s approach to business.
“Each and every one of our PTMs is treated as an individual and a valued business partner within the group, and we actively encourage our PTMs to not only draw on their personal strengths and interests, but also to work collaboratively with their fellow PTMs.”
Dawson, representative for Springfield Lakes in Queensland, said her Destination Dance business came from humble beginnings, when her daughter’s dance studio asked her to assist in taking a group of dancers to Disneyland in the United States.
“As I researched various options, I found there were two main existing players in the dance travel market, but as a Dance Mum myself, I knew I could offer something more; something more unique that would allow families involved in the world of dance the opportunity to travel and perform abroad; and I could provide them with more cost-effective ways to do this,” said Dawson.
Her Destination Dance brand grew out of that introduction, and as the business grew, it became necessary to find a creative solution to the potential problem of being too successful.
“Because my business was growing quite quickly and far beyond what I could manage on my own, I invited other PTMs with similar backgrounds as Dance Mums to join Destination Dance not as employees but as partners in my business. I continue to do the marketing but as enquiries come in, I can forward them to their local PTMs to organise the bookings, using me as their mentor,” she said.
Dawson said her inclusive approach has been key in ensuring the longevity of her business.
“I wanted to bring in partners rather than employees, who would work in the business and share in the success of the Destination Dance venture, all the while supported by TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office and with the full weight of the TravelManagers brand behind me. That support and expertise has been invaluable.”
This co-operative point of view has enabled her to grow beyond where she could have gone as a solo operator. Destination Dance brand is now a major partner and sponsor with Showcase Dance, the biggest and longest running dance competition in Australia. Her relationship with Showcase Dance has put her in touch with dance studios throughout Australia, as well as in New Zealand, Asia and the USA.
Dawson also offers a ‘Dance At Sea’ package, which allows dance studios and families who could not afford to travel to events in the United States to still have the opportunity to perform in a large arena for the public and partake in workshops instructed by industry professionals in the entertainment industry.
“This is a great option for families to not only give their children this opportunity but to also enjoy a family holiday without breaking the budget. I have always loved Royal Caribbean as a brand, their booking system and organisation with group bookings is great, and it’s a great match for my business to have Royal Caribbean as my sole supplier for my dance group cruises,” Dawson said.
“My vision this year is to pass on more bookings to my fellow PTMs and perhaps bring more PTMs alongside to work with me as business grows. I believe Destination Dance can be a real force in the dance group travel market and with my fellow PTMs working with me, I’m very confident that this will happen.”
Image: Gayle Dawson