What I Like About the CruiseOne (Travel Agency) Franchise Opportunity
1. CruiseOne is a travel agency franchise that specializes in selling cruise packages through more than 650 independently owned and operated franchises. As part of World Travel Holdings, one of the nation’s largest online and offline leisure travel companies, CruiseOne boasts unrivaled buying power within the cruise industry — franchisees receive some of the highest commissions in the business.
While CruiseOne is best known for selling cruise packages, franchisees are not limited to selling cruises. They can also earn commissions on travel insurance, shore excursions, land packages, escorted tours, independent tours, all-inclusive resorts, hotels, and car rentals.
2. Franchisees can run their CruiseOne business from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. The business can be run from an office building, retail storefront, or (most typically) from home. All the software provided are web-based, firewall protected, and comply with the highest industry standards for data encryption. CruiseOne subscribes to the highest industry standards as it relates to credit card transactions.
All franchisees receive five customizable consumer websites to drive online bookings. Franchisees are not limited to a defined sales territory. Clients, regardless of location, can book directly on these websites, where they have the ability to select their cabin and make payment. These websites include thousands of pages of professional content including ship reviews, destination information, and everything else consumers expect from a top cruise website.
With CruiseOne’s proprietary technology, franchisees can access up-to-the-minute cruise line pricing, see live cabin availability and make reservations directly with the cruise lines without ever picking up the phone. CruiseOne’s reservation system called Cruise Control is a Customer Relationship Management tool, Booking Engine, and Franchise Financial Management tool all rolled into one. This proprietary $52-million system was built from scratch and is exclusive to CruiseOne.
3. The franchise fee is only $9,800, which already covers the initial 6-day training course taught at the corporate headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, FL. CruiseOne takes care of the hotel accommodations, breakfast, lunch, and complimentary transportation to and from the training facility. It is also possible to receive reimbursement for airfare and ground transfers.
CruiseOne provides financing, so for as little as a $3,500 downpayment, a qualified applicant can become a CruiseOne franchise owner.
4. Being a travel agent has its perks. Based on the volume of business, franchisees may be eligible for an IATAN card, which entitles the holder to hotel, cruise, and travel discounts, including familiarization trips. Many programs are in place to recognize top producers with awards such as exclusive invitations to inaugural cruises and a free cabin in CruiseOne’s annual National Conference at Sea.
What I Don’t Like About The CruiseOne (Travel Agency) Franchise Opportunity
1. It should be clear to prospective franchisees that CruiseOne is not the type of business where you get a built-in customer base from day one. CruiseOne is not well known among consumers, and the main CruiseOne consumer website gets very little traffic — certainly not enough to generate leads for all 650 or so franchisees.
A franchisee will have to spend a considerable amount of time and money to market the business through Internet marketing (search engine optimization, pay per click marketing, etc.) as well as traditional direct marketing. This is especially true for most franchisees who run their business from home. There is just no way for them to be discovered by consumers without an aggressive marketing strategy (and budget).
This is definitely not a get rich quick scheme. Just like any other business, to succeed requires a lot of time and effort. Franchisees should view this opportunity as starting their own niche travel agency with the benefit of being affiliated with a large company that has significant buying power and great technology. But they still have to market the business aggressively to win customers because the brand is not recognizable enough to do the work for them.