In 2017, travel agency franchises Dream Vacations and CruiseOne, and host agency Cruises Inc. launched several new initiatives in technology, marketing, training, and operations that resulted in sales growth in cruise and land. In 2018, the travel brands said they aim to build on these initiatives to improve sales, efficiency, and customer service.
The innovations made last year included:
Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. made a multi-million-dollar investment in its IT team, nearly doubling the team’s size within six months. The larger staff lead to the development of tools for time-saving efficiencies when dealing with bookings made directly with the cruise lines, and to the development of new solutions and technology like the Vacation Superhero Referral program.
On the horizon are enhancements in booking resort vacations and upgrades to the group booking process, as well as a reimagined online vacation shopping experience that will simplify promotions and improve the overall experience for consumers.
The Loyalty Cruise Perks and the Vacation Superhero Referral program launched in 2017 work to enable agents to work smarter not harder in building their business.
Since launching August 1, 2017, more than 3,000 existing customers returned from a cruise and re-booked because of Loyalty Cruise Perks, which rewards consumers for booking their next vacation while onboard or within 30 days of returning home.
The Vacation Superhero Referral program aims to make it more convenient for a consumer to recommend their travel agent. Referrals from this program have access to exclusive promotions, and when they book, their referring “Vacation Superhero” is rewarded with a gift card. Since launching less than 30 days ago, this program has experienced more than 300 referrals.
In 2017, cruise industry veteran Saul Fonseca joined as Director of Sales of World Travel Holdings (the three agencies’ parent company) to lead the Business Development team and increase their sales. In addition, the Business Development team’s geographic territories were simplified and a new Business Development Manager was hired to solely work with new agents, giving them more attention to improve their performance.
More than 50 percent of Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. agents traveled to an offsite learning experience in 2017. The first-of-its-kind Immersive Educational Series provided in-person training summits on niche topics including groups, luxury and land. According to the travel agencies, sales increased across all three categories in 2017.
Groups business increased in 2017, in part due to the Groups Concierge program. This service complements Dream Vacations and CruiseOne’s group registration websites and has groups specialists handle services like contract negotiation, data entry and closing sales. Survey results reveal a 100% Satisfaction with regard to response time, issue resolution and overall satisfaction.
In 2017, World Travel Holdings’ agents, franchise owners and the corporate headquarters team donated nearly $115,000 or the equivalent of granting 11 wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Dream Vacations gave away two dream vacations to military veterans and awarded five veterans with free franchises as part of the Operation Vetrepreneur program, which has given away a total of 30 free franchises since the program’s inception in 2012.
In the past, World Travel Holdings and its brands have also raised money for Make-A-Wish and built houses with Habitat for Humanity.