FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. – 2017 was a year of change and innovation at home-based travel agency franchises Dream Vacations and CruiseOne, and host agency Cruises Inc. that resulted in double-digit sales growth in cruise and land at years end. With the momentum of these new initiatives picking up speed, Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. are on pace for a record-breaking 2018.
“Because we care more about the success of our independent agents and travel franchise owners, we make every decision and investment with their best interests in mind and how it will positively impact their bottom line,” said Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president of Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.
To be the technology leader in the travel agency business industry, Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. made a multi-million dollar investment in its IT team, resulting in the largest technology team and best support staff to agent ratio in travel franchising. The team nearly doubled in size within six months and the impact was felt immediately – with the development of tools which created time-saving efficiencies when dealing with bookings made directly with the cruise lines, while simultaneously developing cutting-edge solutions and best-in-class technology such as the Vacation Superhero Referral © program in collaboration with marketing. On the horizon are enhancements in booking resort vacations and upgrades to the group booking process, as well as a reimagined online vacation shopping experience unlike any other in the home-based travel agent franchise and host agency industries that will simplify promotions and improve the overall experience for consumers.
Programs such as Loyalty Cruise Perks and the Vacation Superhero Referral program which are fully-funded by corporate headquarters enable agents to work smarter not harder in building their business. Since launching August 1, 2017, more than 3,000 existing customers returned from a cruise and re-booked as a result of Loyalty Cruise Perks, which rewards consumers for booking their next vacation while onboard or within 30 days of returning home. The first-of-its-kind in the travel agent industry, the Vacation Superhero Referral program makes it easy for a consumer to recommend their travel agent, and is revolutionizing how agents can leverage their friends and family to gain new customers. Referrals from this program have access to exclusive promotions, and when they book, their referring “Vacation Superhero” is rewarded with a gift card. Since launching less than 30 days ago, this program has experienced more than 300 referrals.
In 2017 cruise industry veteran Saul Fonseca joined as Director of Sales to lead the Business Development team and propel the network of agents to reach new heights in their sales. As inspiration, they adopted a team mission statement – “Dedicated to the growth and success of our customers.” To keep the momentum going and enhance the support provided, the Business Development team’s geographic territories were simplified. In addition, a new Business Development Manager was hired to solely work with new agents giving them more focused attention and putting them on the fast track to success.
Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. agents are never alone and are highly engaged with each other and the headquarters team. More than 50 percent of agents traveled to an offsite learning experience in 2017. The first-of-its-kind Immersive Educational Series launched in 2017 and provided intimate in-person training summits on niche topics including groups, luxury and land. Sales increased across all three categories in 2017.
Groups business increased by nearly 15 percent in 2017, in large part due to the Groups Concierge program. The only one of its kind in travel franchising, this turn-key service complements Dream Vacations and CruiseOne’s group registration websites and has Groups Specialists handle all of the complexities that go into servicing and executing a group, like contract negotiation, data entry and closing sales. Survey results reveal a 100% Satisfaction with regard to Response Time, Issue Resolution & Overall Satisfaction.
Giving back is a keystone of World Travel Holdings and its brands, whether it is raising money and granting wishes for signature charity Make-A-Wish, building houses with Habitat for Humanity or making vacation and business dreams become reality for military veterans. In 2017, agents, franchise owners and the corporate Headquarters team donated nearly $115,000 or the equivalent of granting 11 wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Dream Vacations gave away two dream vacations to military veterans and awarded five veterans with free franchises as part of the award-winning Operation Vetrepreneur program, which has given away a total of 30 free franchises since the program’s inception in 2012.
2017 was a banner year with Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. being recognized across the board in the cruise, franchise and business communities. Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises awarded the three brands with highest honors as best franchise/host partner, and the International Franchise Association awarded Dream Vacations as the only travel franchise with a five-star ranking and the gold Franchising Gives Back award for Operation Vetrepreneur. Military Times and Entrepreneur magazines also ranked Dream Vacations as the number one franchise for veterans. For the sixth and fourth consecutive years respectively, Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. were recognized as a Top Private Company by South Florida Business Journal and Florida Trend, as well as a Top Workplace by Workplace Dynamics and Sun Sentinel. In addition, the Southern Florida chapter of Make-A-Wish recognized Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. as the 2017 Corporation of the Year.
“2017 was truly a year of collaboration, innovation and firsts, and the recognitions we received are testament to the fact that we care more about our agents and franchisees and their success,” added Fiorino. “It will be tough to top 2017, but I am confident in my team and know that 2018 will be a phenomenal year.”
The companies are looking for individuals who are passionate about travel, helping others and are eager to go into business for themselves, but not by themselves.