Cruise Planners travel advisors eagerly returned to in-person events earlier this month at the host agency’s annual convention at the El Dorado Royale in Cancun, Mexico.
“The Power of Cruise Planners is strong, we are ready to put the pandemic behind us and focus on the future of travel,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and founder of Cruise Planners. “Our travel advisors have been incredibly resilient and our entire team’s performance continues to solidify our leadership in the industry.”
Fee continued, “We are fighters, we aren’t going to stop innovating, marketing, and helping our network grow into the future. There’s no turning back – there’s only looking ahead.”
During the five-day event, Cruise Planners leaders reflected on several new programs introduced in 2020 because of the pandemic, including the Where2Next Virtual Travel series with twelve events completed resulting in $20 million in total sales. Additionally, the All-Inclusive Resort Tool centralized hundreds of resorts into one easy-to-search and filter location within Cruise Planners’ proprietary booking tool, CP Maxx.
“Cruise Planners’ conventions never disappoint. They are always filled with fun, engaging high-quality productions, videos, and best of all, their exciting new innovation announcements,” said Vicki Freed SVP, Trade, Sales Support and Service for Royal Caribbean International. “Cruise Planners certainly did not stop during the pandemic and they will go into the future stronger than ever.”
Looking ahead, the Cruise Planner executive team including Michelle Fee, CEO, and founder; Vicky Garcia, COO, and co-owner; Brian Shultz, CIO; Theresa Scalzitti, CSO; and Scott Koepf, SVP of Strategic Development, shared over twenty major announcements to the network.
The new SOAR Dashboard Analysis contains 120 different metrics to analyze their business and includes a heightened focus on setting and tracking business goals. Meanwhile, the Enhanced Sales Opportunities Tool allows advisors to easily track the sales stage of their leads and integrates with Task Manager for follow-up reminders.
Cruise Planners’ advisors will now also have access to enhanced website customization options, giving them the ability to further customize the homepage of their website to showcase the franchisee’s unique attributes, services, and specialties. Landing page templates, including dedicated supplier pages, will also help advisors create professional landing pages on their websites to promote groups or promotions.
Cruise Planners rolled out a new tier for its social media program, CP Social, giving advisors daily automated posting to Facebook and Instagram, the power to create and deploy Facebook and Instagram ads, manage their directory listings and their reputation through reviews and responses. The new “CP Pro Elite” program includes daily posting to Facebook and Instagram, Facebook digital ad boosts, directory listings, and reputation management, all in one easy-to-use dashboard.
Coming soon, a new hotel booking engine that incorporates American Express hotel programs, enhanced commissions, customer savings.
“If there’s anything we’ve learned in the last 18 months, it’s that travel advisors must be able to inform, support, and communicate to their customers in a timely manner. Having cutting-edge technology tools will allow them to work more efficiently and never miss a step,” said Fee.
Next year, Cruise Planners will host five Bootcamps, two Elite Events, three CP Tech Days, a Land and Luxury Event, and Annual Convention— announced for November 2022 and will involve an inaugural trade sailing of the new Norwegian Prima—for a total of 12 in-person events available for advisors in 2022 in addition to six STAR University training events for new franchisees.
Advisors will also be able to receive this designation after completing the Romance Travel Specialist Program.
Several Cruise Planners franchise owners talked about how the Cruise Planners has helped them with their franchise.
Melinda White said her Cruise Planners FB group page has helped her easily stay in touch with her over 4k followers. With the additional postings from Home Office, her clients knew all the latest protocols and are more comfortable in contacting her to travel.
“I’m glad that over the years, I created great relationships with my clients and with suppliers. It has certainly helped pull me through these past 18 months,” said Carolyn Leibowitz.
Kelly Brewer knew she had to pivot, by selling more land. She said the CP All-inclusive tool helped her navigate this landscape, in order to sell the right product to her clients
Fee stated: “Cruise Planners, together with strong supplier partnerships, will help rebuild the travel industry and propel us into the future.”