SAN FRANCISCO — Travel advisor Debby Corwin and her company, TA Toolkit, took home the Entrepreneur of the Year Award at this year’s ASTA Global Convention. TA Toolkit helps advisors more easily match clients with resorts.
“What a great product,” ASTA CEO Zane Kerby said. “It just shows how people are always innovating and thinking about challenges that they face as an everyday travel advisor and bringing solutions to the market, so congratulations.”
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The award is sponsored by the Dan and Gloria Bohan Foundation, which in 2015 agreed to partner with the Society and select one person to win the award each year for 10 years. Gloria Bohan, president and owner of Omega World Travel, presented Corwin with her $10,000 prize.
On stage, Bohan was asked what her inspiration was behind creating the award. She said she, personally, has gotten so much out of the travel industry, and it’s helped fuel her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. She wanted to pass that along to others.
Corwin was competing against two other companies. Then the audience voted for the winner live on Friday. They were asked to consider a number of criteria, including evolution, curation, marketing and technology.
How does TA Toolkit work?
TA Toolkit was born of a frustration Corwin experienced as the owner of a Dream Vacations franchise that she bought in 2014.
Her biggest issue was finding the right resort for the right client, she said, and the amount of time and effort it could take to do research.
In 2020, when ASTA predicted that up to 70% of travel advisors could go out of business but other surveys indicated a public who increasingly wanted to work with advisors, Corwin thought that would mean fewer agents to serve more clients. She wanted to create a solution to save time and effort when picking the right accommodations for clients.
“With that time saved, we can actually not only serve more clients, but watch our son’s baseball game or go to bed when our spouse does,” Corwin said to laughs.
TA Toolkit has more than 1,700 resorts in a searchable database. Advisors enter information on their clients, and the site returns a list of resorts that match their requirements, ranked by how good of a match they are. It takes less than 10 minutes, Corwin said. The site also includes which tour operators carry the resort. Advisors can download agency-branded PDF fact sheets to share with clients.
TA Toolkit costs $12.95 a month or $139.95 per year.
The other candidates for the award this year were Joshua Rome and Runway, which provides travelers with medication for common ailments before they leave, and Carrie Wallace and FamGuru, which helps advisors organize notes from familiarization trips.