Nita Cooper is the founder and current travel director of Stars N Skyes Travel, which is an online travel agency service. Indeed, the service hosts a variety of vacation and holiday trips all over the world, including Tahiti, Cape Town and European cruises. If you are planning a holiday for after the coronavirus pandemic, you should certainly consider Stars N Skyes Travel for your next trip.
Nita was able to answer several questions we had about her business and the industry.
Nita, what prompted you to start ‘Stars N Skyes Travel’ and why was it so important?
I have been an entrepreneur for 20 years. “Life” forced to me to close my educational learning center and switch career paths. I was presented with the opportunity to become a caregiver to someone who is very close to me. I could no longer operate my school and be a caregiver. I had to decide as to what direction I wanted to go career wise because I was determined to be there for this person in their time of need. My first job out of college was in the hospitality industry and I enjoyed working in this field. So, I decided to return to travel and tourism. Being the Travel Director of Stars N Skyes Travel allowed me to work from home while continuing to see the world through the eyes of my clients. I closed the doors to my learning center, set up an office in my home, and started my new travel business while being a caregiver.
How did you come up with the name of your business?
My oldest child is named Star and my youngest is Skye. It was important to me that they have a presence in the business. Star works heavily in the business as our Marketing Director. Being a caregiver affects everyone in the home, so I wanted them to feel a part of this major life change. When I decide to retire and travel the world indefinitely, I am hopeful that the girls will continue with the family business that we built together during a difficult time.
What have some of your biggest achievements been?
Some of our biggest achievements have been hitting a goal of at least one million dollars in sales annually. We have also been recognized as a Southeast Top Producer of Sales, and I have been invited to countless top seller retreats. We were also recognized for our brand partnership with Delta Vacations, which happens to be our number one supplier. Growing from a team of one to a team of eight pushed me out of my home and back to a storefront operation. I was recently sponsored to attend a Romance Travel Forum where upon completion I became a Romance Travel Specialist.
I have now launched our sister brand, SNS Romance where we focus on Destination Weddings, Anniversaries, and Honeymoons. But I must say that my personal and greatest accomplishment is becoming a published author and opening The Stars N Skyes Travel School online. I mark these accomplishments as being my greatest because the school and the book took me back to my background of teaching and being an educator. I am most pleased that I can now combine my love for education and travel into one.
How do you think your site has influenced the online travel industry?
Great question! Most who visit our website speak on how unique it is from the typical travel agency site. I strongly feel that our clients are responsible for the uniqueness of my website. We allow their travel experiences to reflect in our message. See, we don’t just make travel plans, we create travel experiences that will forever change you. I like to say that my site has challenged the thoughts that people used to have about travel agencies. No longer are we overwhelmed with racks and racks of dusty brochures and papers. We have taken the industry to a more virtual experience, and this has prepared my clients for the adventures that await them.
The latest aspect of my website that I am excited about is the launch of my blog which came about during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts and struggles with my followers during this difficult time. I think that my blogs will be a platform for my clients to stay up to date with all the changes that are currently taking place in the travel industry.
You recently published a book “How to Plan a Solo Vacation and Feel Safe: Shocking Safety Tips, Secret Trip Styles, and Detailed Sample Itineraries”, what motivated you to start sharing your knowledge of planning vacations?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel industry has been hit really hard. My travel business is what provides for my family. In this industry, we as travel professionals do not get paid unless our clients are able to travel. So, I went from having thousands of people scheduled to travel to nothing on the books. Everyone had no choice but to cancel their bookings. This was a difficult time for me. After getting over the initial shock, I had no choice but to figure out a way to bring in income for my family. I took some days to grasp what was really happening before deciding that now was not the time to quit. See, this travel thing is not an option, it is a calling. I decided that now was the time to combine my passion of travel with my teaching background and offer online courses and books.
What made you come up with this topic for your book?
Time and time again I would come in contact with a person, mostly females, who would look at me and say – “I wish I could travel like you.” I would ask them why they couldn’t and would receive the same response: “I have no one to go with.” This concerned me because I didn’t know that so many felt that solo travel was weird or risky. Therefore, I decided to put the steps and my experiences in a workbook to help people feel more confident and comfortable about traveling alone. I hope to inspire more to travel more and worry less, with or without a traveling companion. I gain so much when I travel solo, and now is the time for me to share my knowledge with others.
Do you think the way of planning our vacations will change in 10 years?
Absolutely! Just as things changed during the 9-11 attacks, just as things are currently changing during the COVID-19 pandemic, something else will happen that will shake us all up again. We will continue to adjust as our world changes. For example, right now I am having to notify my clients of the new requirements of traveling with a face mask per the guidelines of the airlines. We don’t know what we will be facing in 10 years, but I do know that regardless, we will adapt and continue to travel because that’s what we do. There is nothing that can keep us from the desire to meet new people, experience new cultures, and see the world.
What advice would you give someone who wants to plan a solo vacation in our current global situation?
Whoa! This is a good one. My answer may surprise you. The advice that I would give to a solo traveler would be the same advice that I would give to a couple; prevention is key! I don’t encounter many problems when I travel because I set myself up for safety from the start. Research your destination to learn what neighborhoods are recommended to stay in and read government sites to see if there are any travel warnings. Also, plan your arrival and departure during high peak times so you won’t be alone trying to get to your accommodation, and most importantly, get with travel professionals such as us here at Stars N Skyes Travel. Allow us to assist you in order to make sure that you have done everything that you can to protect yourself. Yes, things can happen regardless of the amount of planning you have done. But it is important that you have done all that you can, and you can travel with ease. Our motto here is – Relax, We Got You!
Thank you Nita for your time!
You can follow up with Nita Cooper at: www.starsnskyes.com
Get the book “How to Plan a Solo Vacation and Feel Safe: Shocking Safety Tips, Secret Trip Styles, and Detailed Sample Itineraries” – at Amazon here