CruiseOne Launches New Leisure Brand, Dream Vacations

dv launchArticle from: Travel Pulse

Travel franchisor CruiseOne is launching a new brand, Dream Vacations, to more clearly convey that its home-based travel agencies sell vacation packages, resorts and tours, as well as cruises.

Existing CruiseOne franchisees can either stick with that brand or move to the new one, which will officially launch in April 2016.

The new brand was announced Monday by Senior Vice President Debbie Fiorino during the CruiseOne/Cruises Inc. annual conference aboard the Norwegian Escape. As the new Dream Vacations brand was unveiled, streamers popped and big beach balls bearing the new logo were batted around by the wildly enthusiastic agents, who rose in a standing ovation.

“I’m ecstatic, energized, and celebratory,” said Karen Quinn-Panzer, who owns a CruiseOne franchise in Milford, Conn., with her husband, Frank. “We feel we make dream vacations happen all the time. This is a way of getting that message across to everybody.”

Quinn-Panzer said land vacations comprise about 35 percent of their business, and that they will switch to the Dream Vacations brand.

In fact, land sales by CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., its sister network of independent contractors, grew by 25 percent this year over last year, Fiorino said.

“CruiseOne has always sold other things,” she said in an interview with TravelPulse, but many consumers don’t realize that. The point was driven home by a number of CruiseOne agents who lost resort and tour sales because friends and clients assumed they only sold cruises.

“In 2011, we added the tagline ‘Dream Vacations Start Here’ to our company messaging to convey that our franchisees sell more than cruise vacations,” Fiorino said. “Now, in 2015, as the industry continues to evolve, it is only natural for us to have a brand reflecting every vacation type our franchisees sell.”

Dream Vacations will “still be part of CruiseOne, all one company,” she emphasized. “It’s easy to just throw another logo out there, but we want everything to be connected — email, URLs, invoices, everything is going to say Dream Vacations once it’s launched, so consumers won’t be confused.”

Might CruiseOne shrink in size? “We’re going to fully support CruiseOne the way we do today,” Fiorino responded. “We don’t know what the network adaption will be. But I think we have a large enough network to support both.”

Fiorino said the launch of Dream Vacations will also help cruise lines by attracting new vacationers.

“Cruise lines will also benefit because we can further tap into the first-time cruiser market by cross-selling cruises to new customers who come to us by way of a villa or resort vacation,” she said. “Dream Vacations is a win-win for everybody.”

The new brand will “expand the vision of what we sell,” said Claudia Thaler, who co-owns a CruiseOne franchise in Ponte Vedra, Fla., with her sister, Mara Hargarther. “We couldn’t be more thrilled.”

The conference drew about 750 attendees to a full week of panels, speeches, workshops and more on the Norwegian Escape’s first seven-night voyage after its Nov. 9 christening.

Alex Pinelo, vice president of key accounts for Norwegian Cruise Line, welcomed conference attendees on Saturday and announced the next day that parent company World Travel Holdings was named Norwegian’s Elite Partner of the Year for the fifth year in a row.

“It’s been another stellar year for the home-based division,” Fiorino said in her welcome address, noting that CruiseOne/Cruises Inc. agents boast a 44 percent repeat rate, higher than the industry average.

The organization also announced a modernized Business Center, which will be used to exchange information between headquarters and travel agents, who also can chat among themselves. When the update launches on Dec. 16, it will be fully compatible with all web browsers and devices.

“The Business Center is basically a transformative intranet site that will enable us to be mobile-ready on an iPhone, Androids and any mobile device,” said Drew Daly, general manager of network engagement and performance. “We have a Facebook page for agents, who connect to each other to ask questions and share best practices. The Business Center will have that functionality. It will take polls, store videos and become a knowledge base. And it’s so intuitive, even for someone who is resistant to change. We need people to embrace it and engage with it.”

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