The Technology Team at Cruise Planners works diligently to ensure our travel agent franchises have the absolute best and latest travel technology tools at their fingertips. Travel Agency Franchise owners rely heavily on the award-winning tools created by the Technology Team to assist with cruise, land, and tour bookings. Planning and booking customized trips working from home or on the go is a breeze with the Cruise Planners Mobile App which allows travel agents to manage their travel agency business from anywhere in the world. Clients are able to use a second consumer-facing mobile app to book new trips and review previously booked trips. Not into mobile apps? Cruise Planners franchises’ websites are accessible on both desktop format and mobile platforms and are responsive to all smartphone browsers.
Creating user-friendly mobile apps was a primary goal of the Technology Team. The website and app are designed for clients and travel agents of all technology comfort levels, making navigation throughout a breeze.
“I am technology challenged and the Cruise Planners system is so user-friendly,” Keel said. “It’s a database, accounting system, marketing tool, booking engine all rolled up into one system. Clients are often impressed that they can access their profile and keep in contact with me, so the mobile app is a huge plus for most of my tech-savvy clients.”
Cruise Planners continuously improves its travel technology services and systems and launches new technology that not only helps agents be more efficient but also provides better services to our customers. The convenient benefits of using Cruise Planners’ technology continue to be used by agents and their clients every day. The Technology Team is constantly enhancing and creating the best resources for everyone.
“In today’s world, if you don’t have a mobile app, you’re obsolete,” Furst Matulonis said. “My clients love being able to view all their trip details, chat directly with me and even look up the weather in their destination all from the Cruise Planners Mobile App.”
Cruise Planners, an American Express Representative, allows franchise owners to combine their passion for travel with the power to be their own boss and to work whenever and wherever they want. For some travel franchise owners, opening and operating their Cruise Planners franchise is a family affair, giving these travel agents the opportunity to build relationships with both their clients and each other. Terry McKinney, a franchise owner since 2011 based in Magnolia, Texas shares how running her work from home Cruise Planners franchise with her daughter Andrea Mickan, has allowed them to make a difference in their clients lives – and their own – through travel.
How did the idea of entering the travel industry together come about?
I opened my business in September 2011 and knew I wanted to do trade shows to get my business name and face out in public view so I asked my daughter Andrea if she would be able to help me work at the trade shows. I immediately saw that she was a natural fit for the romance travel industry. After my asking her to join me for a couple of years, she finally said yes and made the move from her corporate America position in human resources to becoming a full-time independent contractor with my company.
What makes your daughter your ideal business partner?
Andrea loves talking to people and making people happy. She knows her products and if she isn’t familiar with a particular destination, resort or cruise ship she’ll research it backwards and forwards until she becomes an expert. I am so proud to have my daughter working by my side in my company.
What is the best part about being a mother-daughter team in the travel industry?
We work together in tandem, bouncing marketing ideas off one another, always working together to better ourselves and exceed our company goals, always working hard to make sure that we provide the best options to our clients and getting to revel in our successes together. We both love the romance travel industry so it’s a great feeling of joy and pride when our couples get married and go from college sweethearts to parents and then being called ‘Aunties’ by our clients when they start having children. What a wonderful feeling to know that you’ve made a difference in someone’s lives!
How has the Cruise Planners travel agency model allowed you to smoothly run your business together?
Cruise Planners is amazing in their support to their franchise owners on so many different levels. They truly care about our successes and are always coming up with new initiatives that serve to improve our efficiency, training, technology education and sales strategies. Andrea and I are aligned with our Cruise Planners Home Office in that we know what to expect and who to turn to in the event we need assistance or special guidance. They have our backs and we are never alone.
What’s your favorite travel memory you’ve shared since starting your Cruise Planners franchise?
My personal favorite memory was our Mediterranean cruise to Italy and the Greek Isles. We started with a few days in Paris and toured the city as well as the Champagne Region – such a beautiful country. We traversed down to Rome and spent a few more days sightseeing and going down to the Amalfi Coast. Then we boarded our cruise ship and were rewarded with an unbelievable suite upgrade as a surprise. The entire experience, both on land and on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, was absolutely amazing. Our travels always seem to make us better people and we love working side-by-side as a team.
With Mother’s Day coming up, what vacation options would you recommend as a gift for moms and what amenities on this trip would make it special?
Providing a mother with a special trip on Mother’s Day with her children creates beautiful memories that will stay with her the rest of her life. A cruise onboard the Celebrity Reflection staying in a Spa Suite – absolutely perfect; a trip to El Dorado Seaside Suites with a beautiful beach cabana and butler service in one of their gorgeous swim-out infinity pool suites – unbelievable; a European River Cruise onboard the AMASerena floating gently down the Danube River with their included shore excursions and local wines – nothing like it! The idea list for a Mother’s Day family trip with her children is truly endless. But that’s what Andrea and I do…we can create all of those ‘wow’ moments to make every person feel so very special.
Want to Start your Own Travel Agency?
Contact us, by calling 888-582-2150 or register for an upcoming franchise webinar, for more information about starting a travel agency with Cruise Planners.
Cruise Planners, An American Express Representative, created the Armed Forces and First Responders Initiative Program with exclusive benefits for retired, active military and spouses of the community. The support, tools and award-winning travel agent training that is offered through this program are the perfect guide to effortlessly merge a military background with a passion for travel and achieve a successful business as a Cruise Planners travel agency franchise owner.
Travel Agency owners, Chris and Shelia Korte are both U.S. Army veterans that brought their military experience to Cruise Planners. Now as travel franchise owners based in Long Island, NY, the Korte’s share their journey and transition from the army to the travel industry in celebration of Military Spouse Day.
Shelia and Chris Korte, Cruise Planners franchise owners
based in Long Island, N.Y., on a cruise vacation in Tahiti
A Military Spouse Perspective on Starting a Travel Agency
How many years were you and your spouse in active military service?
Both Chris and I were in the Army for 3 years and 2 years respectively. We received an honorable discharge, Chris in 1977, and myself in 1976.
What factors contributed to becoming a Cruise Planners travel agency franchise owners?
We compared Cruise Planners with other travel companies and it came down to the Veterans discount offered at Cruise Planners. Since we joined Cruise Planners in 2010, we know that we made the right decision because we are part of a family. The franchise technology and support offered by Cruise Planners are second to none.
How do you share your experience with Cruise Planners to others with military experience looking to join a franchise?
We really recommend it to other Veterans or enlisted military members who are looking for an entrepreneurial option for the next stage of their lives after departing the military. For us, owning a Cruise Planners franchise has allowed us to have and maintain a work and family life balance. We truly love what we do and are able to make our own schedule and work when and where we want. We have plenty of time for leisure activities and time to spend with our family, friends and grandchildren.
How has your military background helped you succeed in the travel industry?
Our background in the military has given us the discipline to stick with our choice to purchase a franchise. We have been able to grow our business by sharing our story that we are both veterans. People like to support a veteran-owned business and with that seems to come immediate trust. Gaining trust is one of the biggest hurdles in growing your business. In our signature line, website and every PR piece we always include the phrase, “Veteran-Owned Business.” Doing this has helped us build strong relationships with people throughout the country. With the can-do military training and background that we had, we knew that failing or quitting the business was never an option.
Are you a veteran or a member of the armed forces and first responder community interested in turning your passion for travel and entrepreneurship into a successful and rewarding career? Contact call 888-582-2150 or visit www.CruisePlannersFranchise.com for more information about Cruise Planners’ Armed Forces and First Responders Initiative Program.
Cruise Planners’ Business Development Team acts as the biggest support system for franchise owners. Each team members’ main goal is to motivate and assist our travel agency owners in all aspects of small business ownership. Whether cultivating business plans, creating marketing tools or hosting coaching calls, the Business Development Team strives to ensure the success of every franchisee who becomes a travel agency owner.
The Business Development Team’s hard work does not go unnoticed by the franchise travel agency owners, as many credit the remarkable team for their travel agency’s growth and accomplishments.
“I love the coaching calls,” said Debra Kerper, a Carrollton, TX Cruise Planners franchise owner who specializes in accessible special needs travel. “Whether it’s a good week or a slow one, the Business Development Team always has sage advice on how to kick my business up a notch.”
Debra Kerper (middle), Cruise Planners franchise owner based in Carrollton TX, who specializes in accessible travel, vacationing with her clients.
The one-on-one experiences offered by Cruise Planners fosters a sense of family by creating strong relationships between team members and travel agents.
“I have found the Business Development Team to be the most helpful people on the planet,” said Carol Furst Matulonis, Cruise Planners travel agency franchise owner, Fort Pierce, Fla. “They have incredible insight and many have been in the travel industry for decades.”
Carol Furst Matulonis, Cruise Planners franchise owner based in Fort Pierce, Fla., vacationing at Sandals South Coast in Jamaica.
JOIN US FOR A FREE FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY WEBINAR
Please join us for an upcoming travel franchise opportunity webinar in which you can learn more about the features and benefits of owning your own Cruise Planners franchise.