Written By: Michelle Fee, Founder & CEO – Cruise Planners
Last month, we had the pleasure of hosting more than 700 Cruise Planners travel advisors and hundreds of travel partners at our annual Convention in Hollywood, Fla. at The Diplomat Beach Resort and capped it off with a three-night sailing on Princess Cruises’ brand-new Sky Princess. I like to think of the Cruise Planners Convention as part family reunion, part learning seminar, part theatrical production, part party and all green. It is a great opportunity for our travel advisors to learn about new tools and technologies we have developed, hear directly from our travel partners and share experiences and insights with each other, all with the goal of expanding their knowledge and improving their businesses.
The theme of this year’s Convention was Mission Possible where we strived to inspire our advisors to identify their mission and make it possible. We’ve all struggled and encountered difficulties at some point in our lives, but through hard work, belief and always seeing the positive, we can create moments of possibility each and every day.
Just as we encourage our travel advisors, we also challenge ourselves to make the impossible, possible- to deliver our advisors the absolute best tools and technologies to grow their businesses; to provide the ability for entrepreneurs to start their own business, work from anywhere and travel the world; and to ultimately change the travel world.
I am proud that after 26 years, we continue to make the impossible possible for our travel advisors. In 2019 we reported strong sales growth year over year in cruise, luxury, river and land sales at an average growth of 19%. Looking ahead to 2020, we are pacing at 25% growth year over year.
We also continue to innovate and develop new tools and technologies designed to help our travel advisors be more efficient and more effective, so they can accomplish their goals and make their impossible, possible. We were excited to announce an incredible 14 new proprietary tools at our 2019 Convention.
Here are some highlights of a few of those new tools:
Cruise Planners Rewards Program: With our new Rewards Program, clients are able to earn points for all travel purchases and use them for up to 60% savings on hundreds of quality-brand products such as luggage, home goods, handbags, electronics, wine, gift cards and more. Cruise Planners is the only travel franchise or host agency with access to this amazing program.
Marketing Plans: This dynamic addition to the CP Marketing Hub allows travel advisors to see all their marketing initiatives in one centralized location, so they can create co-op marketing proposals and marketing plans annually.
Travel Financing Program: To stay competitive, help close a sale or upgrade a client to a more premium experience, Cruise Planners is introducing travel financing through Uplift.
Vacation Wizard: This recommendation engine helps advisors find the right supplier for their client’s vacation needs. Advisors simply enter some key information such as travel type, destination and travel style, and a list of suppliers will be served up including all relevant supplier information such as commission rates, contact information, special offers and more.
Client Lead Forms: This tool allows travel advisors to create a client lead form and capture prospect information at travel shows or from any other event or web page. The tool will also send customized digital marketing campaigns to new prospects. Lead forms will allow travel advisors to focus on closing sales instead of spending time uploading contact information.
Live Planner: This tool is an enhanced way for travel advisors to collaborate in real time with their clients to curate the best vacation possible. Advisors can collaborate online with their clients or provide clients with the planner and receive comments back.
Where2Next: This new tool collects information on destinations that clients want to visit in the next one to three years. This information can then be used to send the right marketing and offers to the right clients.
Enhanced Cruise Planners Mobile App: Cruise Planners was the first travel host or franchise company to have a mobile app for customers. Our completely revamped mobile app connects customers with their Cruise Planners travel advisor and includes a powerful cruise search engine, Yelp integration, chat feature, online payment options and more.
Enhanced Franchise Snapshot: Understanding how your business is performing is critical. This enhanced reporting measures key business metrics such as sales growth year over year, average customer spend, top destinations, insurance sales analysis and more, so advisors always have an accurate pulse on their business’ performance.
Top 20 Client List: Knowing who your top clients are can propel your business to the next level. It’s all about communicating with them and being attentive to their needs. This new on demand report allows our advisors to instantly see their top 20 clients based on either total sales or total number of trips. This allows the advisor to easily see which clients they should be placing their primary focus on.
Groups Tool Enhancements: One of the most important ways to grow your business is with groups. We’ve enhanced our groups tools to make it even easier to book and communicated with groups.
At Cruise Planners, our goal is to make the impossible possible each and every day. We continually innovate and create to provide our advisors the best tools and support so they can achieve their own successes they never knew were attainable. It’s not always easy, but with hard work, positivity and a sprinkling of CP green, anything is possible.
Looking to take your business to the next level? On top of the amazing tools, support and systems Cruise Planners offers, we also provide a significantly reduced franchise rate for experienced travel agents. Visit www.cruiseplannersfranchise.com to learn more.
See you next year at Cruise Planners Convention 2020!