Owning a home-based travel business is a life changing experience for travel professionals who are pursuing entrepreneurial passions and for their customers who are exploring new destinations and creating life long memories. People with a passion for travel got a chance to learn more about franchising opportunities with CruiseOne – Dream Vacations and business opportunities with Cruises Inc. at its 2016 National Conference aboard the Carnival Vista. Both business models provide a work-from-home opportunity to those interested in becoming a part of the travel industry. Some CruiseOne – Dream Vacation franchise owners see the business as a way to earn discretionary income while others have grown beyond the home to having storefronts. A select group is generating a million-dollar-plus in annual revenues.
Cruise line executives took center stage during the conference, whose theme this year is “Believe.” Senior Vice President Debbie Fiorino kicked off the general session. In addressing the attendees, she noted, “Each and every one of you creates Dream Vacations —whether you brand yourself as Dream Vacations, CruiseOne, or Cruises Inc.—it is not about the product you sell, it is about the experience you provide to your customer.”
Growing Leisure Travel Business
Cruising was a core focus of the conference. Attendees heard about product updates from individual cruise lines, including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Oceana. CruiseOne Dream Vacation travel agents have access to exclusive cruise deals, all-inclusive resorts, and personalized travel destinations. Cruises Inc., CruiseOne, and Dream Vacations are part of World Travel Holdings, the world’s largest cruise agency and award-winning leisure travel company.
The CruiseOne – Dream Vacations franchise is appealing to professionals coming out of corporate life and looking at a second act, or retirees. Eyeing the millennial generation, the company has canvased college campuses and their entrepreneurial or travel schools, for prospects, says Tim Courtney, vice president of franchise development.
Diversity and Inclusion in Franchising
Through the International Franchise Association, CruiseOne – Dream Vacations participates in the VetFran program, with 30% of its network comprised of military veterans and their spouses, and the DiversityFran Program to engage minority franchise owners. “Last year we reinvented our franchise diversity program to put more emphasis on helping other franchisors to be more inclusive of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and communities,” Courtney told BlackEnterprise.com.
All agents that join the CruiseOne – Dream Vacations franchise program attend an in-depth training session, including ship inspections. Continuing education opportunities for travel agents are available through its e-learning program, regional training, national conference, and Seminars@Sea. On the marketing front, the CruiseOne – Dream Vacations franchise program offers online, offline, and field tools.
“We have business development managers to work one-on-one with franchise owners. We help with marketing strategies locally,” adds Courtney. What’s more, the suppliers (various cruise lines) provide training and assistance to help owners grow their clientele. “We are a network of niches. All of the various owners are going after different buckets of travel—from bikers and LGBT groups to destination weddings and family reunions.”