A small business with headquarters in Ringgold is helping families all over the East Coast plan their dream vacations. Chasing Down Daydreams Travel LLC specializes in a variety of vacation options, including major cruise lines, all-inclusive resorts, and its specialty, Walt Disney World.
Founder Katina Williams has had a passion for Disney World since she and her high school bandmates made the trip in 1988. When her own children were old enough to experience the iconic park, she began to research the affiliated resorts to in order to optimize the experience. Later, she decided to make a career of her passion for travel and joined an independent travel agency.
In 2014, Williams founded her own agency. Several of her former co-workers followed her and she has since added even more agents, with some employees as far north as New Hampshire, she said.
Williams and her travel agents are paid through commissions for booking at various destinations. Thus, contrary to popular belief, her services are free to the customer seeking help with their vacation planning.
"We don't charge for what we do," Williams said. "We are paid a commission through what we book, and so it's free to you and can only save you money, time, heartache and stress."
Commission is typically included in the price for such destinations whether visitors use a travel agency or not, said Williams. For example, if a room at Walt Disney World costs $300, about $25 of that amount is sent to the travel agency. If no travel agency is used, Disney pockets that amount, she explained.
"You're paying it whether you book it yourself or you book it with me," Williams said. "Booking with us supports the small business."
In addition to Walt Disney World, Chasing Down Daydreams specializes in trips to Universal Orlando and the adjoining Islands of Adventure, Carnival Cruise Lines, Sandals Resorts and Beaches by Sandals, Sea World, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Adventures by Disney, but the staff encourages guests to request help with any other destination in which they are interested.
Williams said she and her team of travel agents are trained to find the best deal possible for their customers. They are required to stay on top of various promotions that resorts and cruise lines might offer, and help their customers apply those to their trip when possible. They can even work to alter reservations in order to meet those promotion guidelines, she said.
Williams' staff isn't just trained to find the best deals, but also specializes in planning the activities for each trip, she said. For example, Williams' customers could ask her to schedule excursions while the guest is at a certain port on a cruise line. She and her team also provide customers with vacation tips such as when to travel to best avoid crowds and how to pack for various trips.
"We do as much or as little of the planning as they want," Williams said. "If you just want me for advice, I do that, too."
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Contact Sarah Turner at 423-757-6579.