By Pat Pratt
After spending most of her career in the field of education, in 2017 Corie Devall decided to take the road less traveled.
Now in 2023, currently celebrating multiple performance awards and averaging $1 million in annual sales, she has no regrets.
“I love it, because I get such joy watching my clients go on these trips,” Devall said. “And helping them with trips they have wanted to go on for a lifetime – watching families get to go and do these trips – I have no regrets.”
For eight years Devall served as a teacher’s aide for the Triad School District. While she says she enjoyed working in that role, she and her husband Doug also loved to travel. Thus, she decided to take her logistical skills and knowledge of the industry to the market and Travel by Corie was born.
“My husband and I, we go to all-inclusives a lot and we just enjoy traveling so much,” Devall said. “We travel a lot and so it was a way to make a little extra money. Never did I think this business would take off as fast as it did.”
After a year of working part-time, Devall had enough business to leave her previous job and devote all her energy to her agency. Since then, she has doubled her sales almost every year. Travel by Corie is part of an Agency Group consisting of over 7,000 agents nationwide. It’s also ranked against those other agents and nearly every year has hit the top 100, with one exception.
In 2020, people around the globe were hit with something unfathomable in our lifetimes, a raging viral pandemic. With travel around the world suddenly highly restricted, as one might imagine, it was an agent’s worst nightmare.
“That was very difficult,” Devall said. “I had a ton of sales and all of a sudden the pandemic hit. I spend a lot of long hours on the phone helping people with their trips. Either they had insurance or they did not, so I spent a lot of time with suppliers figuring out how we are going to help these people.”
With flights and other transportation restricted, hotels closing or severely limiting many functions and numerous travel advisories in place, for the industry the future seemed grim. Devall took it in stride, worked to keep a positive outlook and planned for the future.
“I knew things were going to get better,” Devall said. “It was going to take some time, but I have some very reliable clients. They come to me for every trip, so they stayed in touch and asked, ‘when can we go.’”
Through the pandemic, Devall kept in touch with her clients, letting them know blue skies were ahead and their destination would soon be ready. As Covid eased its grip on life, and people started seeing the end of stay-at-home orders and zoom meetings, they indeed, absolutely, wanted to go.
“Now that they are ready, they are going above and beyond,” Devall said. “They are staying longer than they normally did. They are staying in different rooms than before and are going to different destinations then they have ever gone before because they are ready.”
In 2022, Travel by Corie ( travelbycorie.com) ranked in the Top 50 travel agents for ALG Vacations, a provider which offers access to Apple, Funjet, Southwest Vacations and others. While the bulk of her clients are in the St. Louis Metro, she has customers across the county thanks to her marketing skills.
Today, asked if she was sure she made the right decision, Devall said there is no doubt.
“This is absolutely wonderful,” Devall said.