Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (January 14, 2014) – World Travel Holdings, the world’s leading cruise agency and award-winning leisure travel company, announces that its home-based division, comprised of CruiseOne®, achieved many notable accomplishments in 2013. From CruiseOne reaching the 800th franchise milestone to expanding its marketing programs; launching innovative technological developments; enhancing training programs; and winning prestigious awards such as the Small Business Influencer Awards, South Florida Business Journal CIO Awards, Women in Ecommerce Golden Mouse Awards and G.I. Jobs Military Friendly Franchise to name a few, the home-based travel company experienced unprecedented growth.
“CruiseOne is essential to the overall success of World Travel Holdings – and was a substantial driver in being named by both Royal Caribbean and Norwegian as their respective ‘Partners of the Year.’ I am pleased that we were able to prevail and have an impressive year, despite the challenges to the industry,” said Brad Tolkin, Co-Chairman / CEO for World Travel Holdings. “To win the highest recognition from two of the three largest cruise lines serving the North American market is a validation of the incredible team our organization has and the success of our partnership with our valued cruise line partners. We are thankful for all of the hard work and dedication displayed by our wonderful network of CruiseOne owners and look forward to even greater success in 2014.”
CruiseOne experienced double-digit sales growth year over year in 2013 as a result of more resources than ever available to vacation specialists, ensuring their ongoing success. These resources included new technology platforms and programs; increased local, national and web-based marketing efforts; and more training opportunities than ever before — both in-person and online.
The award-winning information technology team has its eye on the future and in 2013 developed mobile websites for CruiseOne, enabling consumers to connect and engage with an agent regardless of time and location. CruiseOne agents will experience even greater technological gains in 2014 as a result of a recently announced half million dollar incremental investment in new resources by parent company World Travel Holdings. “We pride ourselves on being the ‘best in travel’ and this new investment will be 100 percent focused on delivering the tools needed to drive our continued success for our CruiseOne brand,” shared Tolkin.
The innovative marketing team at CruiseOne provides its vacation specialists with access to large-scale initiatives. In 2013 an investment was made in a new in-house digital marketing team to manage paid search and lead generation through web advertising for CruiseOne franchise owners. Additionally, we launched a video asset sharing program that provided franchisees access to professional videos which they could personalize and use on television, at special events and on the web. Finally, an email marketing tool was launched that enables work-from-home travel agents to send professional news updates to their existing databases; and a new custom niche website program enables travel franchise owners to create websites to support their focus to a specific niche.
As the only travel franchise system to offer a field marketing team dedicated to providing local marketing support to individual franchise owners, in 2013 CruiseOne expanded the program to the Northeast and now covers more than 60 percent of the U.S.
The network development team at CruiseOne is pleased to report a gain in size by nearly 10 percent year over year, with CruiseOne reaching the 800th franchise milestone and experiencing a 93.3 percent retention rate among current owners. CruiseOne also implemented a successful program targeting military veterans. For the second year in a row, CruiseOne received more than 300 entries from 40 different states for its “Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General Contest,” which awards five military veterans with travel franchises.
CruiseOne offers year-round continuing education courses through online and in-person training sessions, arming vacation specialists with unparalleled knowledge of cruise lines and resort vacations, destinations, niche specialties and more. A new enhancement to the training program in 2013 was the addition of The Learning Center, an online learning management system providing new and seasoned vacation specialists easy access to more than 10 certification programs and in excess of 400 training modules for product, sales skills and marketing, as well as introductory-level refresher classes for all work-from home travel agents with CruiseOne.
2013 also saw record-breaking attendance at five regional trainings throughout the U.S. where CruiseOne franchise owners learned tips on how to continue expanding their business by attending educational presentations on marketing, sales and technology from the corporate headquarters team and networking with each other and industry executives. With last year’s regional training attendees experiencing a 23 percent increase in sales, 2014 is poised to be the most well-attended yet, with trainings scheduled in New Orleans (Jan. 31-Feb. 1), Fort Lauderdale (March 28-29) , Boston (May 16-17), Indianapolis (July 25-26) and San Diego (Sept. 19-20). In November, more than 800 work-from-home agents will convene onboard the Regal Princess® for the 2014 CruiseOne National Conference, which is the only annual conference in the industry to be held for a full week at sea.
“With so much industry information flooding the marketplace, it’s important for agents to have a reliable resource that will process, narrow and present the key knowledge that will drive business,” said Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales and trade support & service of Royal Caribbean International. “Today’s consumer looks to the travel agent not simply as someone who places a reservation, but as a trusted guide. These trainings are the invaluable resource CruiseOne agents need to stay at the forefront of news, promotions and innovations in our industry, and deliver at the level their clients expect.”
For the third year in a row, Make-A-Wish® was selected as the charity of choice for CruiseOne. Through fundraisers at the corporate offices, regional trainings and National Conference, which included the first-ever Marathon at Sea to benefit Make-A-Wish, the companies donated more than $110,000, providing funds to grant more than 11 wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. What’s more, the corporate headquarters team helped grant a wish by hosting a bon voyage party for local wish kid Santiago, a nine-year-old boy who wished to go on a cruise.
“We achieved many milestones and successes in 2013 and as we move into 2014, we have the wind at our back and are looking forward to continuing to deliver remarkable experiences for our customers, as well as for kids with life-threatening medical conditions through our partnership with Make-A-Wish,” noted Tolkin.
For more information on joining this award-winning team, please visit www.CruiseOneBiz.com to learn more about owning a CruiseOne travel franchise.
About World Travel Holdings
World Travel Holdings is the world’s leading cruise agency and award-winning leisure travel company with a portfolio of more than 35 diverse brands. In addition to owning some of the largest brands distributing cruises, villas, hotels, resort vacations and luxury travel services, World Travel Holdings has a vast portfolio of licensed private label partnerships comprised of top leisure travel providers, almost every U.S. airline, leading hotel brands and prominent corporations. The company also operates a top-rated travel agency franchise and the country’s original host agency. Its global presence includes operating multiple owned and private label cruise and vacation brands in the United Kingdom. World Travel Holdings has offices in Long Island, NY, Wilmington, Mass., Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, Fla., Virginia Beach, Va., and Chorley, United Kingdom. For more information, visit WorldTravelHoldings.com.
Celebrating 22 years in business with more than 825 home-based travel franchise owners, CruiseOne® is ranked in the top one percent of all franchises worldwide and is a member of the International Franchise Association. As part of World Travel Holdings, the world’s largest cruise retailer, CruiseOne franchisees are able to offer their customers the lowest possible pricing on vacations with its 100 percent “Best Price and Satisfaction Guarantee.” CruiseOne has received partner of the year, a top-ranking status, by all the major cruise lines including Norwegian Cruise Line®, Royal Caribbean International®, Celebrity Cruises® and Carnival® Cruise Line. For more information on CruiseOne, visit www.CruiseOneBiz.com. Like CruiseOne on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CruiseOneFranchise, and follow us on Twitter at @CruiseOneBiz.