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Published on : Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Innovation and growth defined 2015 for CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., which are the home-based division of World Travel Holdings, the world’s largest cruise agency and award-winning leisure travel company. CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. experienced double-digit sales growth year over year in 2015. While cruise continued to be the core business, the continuous growth in land inspired the company to make a bold move.
The announcement of Dream Vacations, a new home-based travel franchise brand, was the biggest news of 2015 and made a profound impact in the travel industry. With four months until the launch on April 4, 2016, already approximately 35 percent of CruiseOne franchisees have committed to operate under this new brand that speaks to all vacation experiences, including cruise.
“2015 is going to be tough to beat, but with the launch of the Dream Vacations brand coupled with our dynamic Headquarters team creating innovative new technology, marketing and training programs, I am confident that our CruiseOne / Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. brands will all experience tremendous growth,” said Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president of CruiseOne / Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. “Because their success is our only business, we make every decision with the best interests of our franchisees and agents in mind. In 2015 we laid down a strong foundation that will lead to continued success in 2016.”
In addition to receiving prestigious accolades such as being 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, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. experienced record-breaking growth and introduced numerous programs and resources making it easier than ever for franchisees and agents to operate their work-at-home business.
Modernization was the theme of technology in 2015. Existing resources such as the network’s intranet and reservation system both received a facelift, while a brand new Group Registration Tool revolutionized the way CruiseOne franchisees could grow and market their group business.
· A game-changer in the industry, the CruiseOne Group Registration tool empowers franchisees to create and customize professional group event websites that showcase amenity options, making it easier than ever to market groups, simplify the booking process, expand outreach and close deals. Since launching, more than 1,100 group registration websites have been created and more than 2,800 registrations received.
· The launch of a new, mobile-friendly Business Center intranet, modeled after social media, transformed the way franchisees/agents and Headquarters connect with each other.
· Unlike any other reservation system in the industry, the enhanced My Cruise Control Shopping Path now enables franchisees/agents to quote multiple sailings and categories, as well as provide even more information on the sailings, to their clients all in one email. What’s more, the emails are customizable and have a professional look and feel.
A reinvigorated marketing program with creative promotions funded by parent company World Travel Holdings sparked excitement among franchisees and agents, contributing to increased sales and many record-breaking days both on an individual level and corporate level.
· CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. rebranded the traditional Onboard Credit (OBC) as “Mystery Money” and gave franchisees and agents supporting materials so they could promote it and create buzz. This two-week promotion resulted in an overall sales increase of 56 percent, and on January 26, 2015, CruiseOne/Cruises Inc. experienced its best ever, record-breaking day in sales and bookings.
· For the first time ever, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. launched an award-winning integrated marketing campaign which leveraged current events and combined video marketing, public relations, social media and philanthropy. The #DoYouWantToBuildASandcastle campaign resulted in a sales increase of 31 percent year over year during this two-week promotion in February 2015.
In addition to these two successful promotions, CruiseOne made it easier than ever for franchisees to inexpensively and efficiently send direct mail pieces to their customers with the Savvy Sorter program, and launched a free automated social media program making it easier for CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. agents to create professional-looking, authorized business Facebook pages.
An engaged home-based travel agent network is a successful one, so the CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. training team focused on offering increased engagement opportunities in 2015 beyond its annual award-winning weeklong National Conference and five two-day regional trainings held throughout U.S. Franchisees and agents value the opportunity to network with each other in-person and have an open dialogue with the Headquarters team.
Launched in 2015, MeetUps are informal meetings held at coffee shops, diners or other community venues where members of the Executive Team met with a small group of local franchisees and agents. The team met with 150 franchisees/agents at MeetUps held around the country.
“We believe that our franchisees and independent agents are our customers and we value their input,” noted Fiorino. “We use these engagement opportunities to keep a pulse on the network and take action based on their feedback on what is important to them.”
Giving back is a keystone of World Travel Holdings and its brands and for the past five years Make-A-Wish® has been the company’s signature charity. In 2015, agents, franchise owners and the corporate Headquarters team donated approximately $90,000, or the equivalent of nine wishes, to Make-A-Wish®. Fundraising activities included Zumba@Sea – Dance for Wishes and the silent auction during the annual National Conference, as well as corporate teambuilding events such as the annual Gift Basket Fundraiser and first-ever “Pie in the Face” contest.
In 2015 CruiseOne reached a franchise industry milestone opening its 1,000th location and both CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. grew by 10 percent this year. “While growth is important, we understand that it must be done in moderation and we pride ourselves on always maintaining a support staff ratio of 10:1, which is higher than many competitors in the industry,” said Fiorino. “As a result of the personalized support we provide, our annual franchisee satisfaction survey revealed our highest scores ever, and a leading retention rate of 94 percent.”
CruiseOne / Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. are committed to being “Rich in Diversity” and empowers all owners, franchisees, agents and employees to reach their highest potential by leveraging their broad range of talent, experiences, personalities, viewpoints and ideas to generate business growth.