How Cruise Planners Supports and Embraces LGBTQ+ Franchise Owners and Travelers

Cruise Planners provides LGBTQ-focused marketing materials to help franchise owners and travelers provide inclusive marketing

Cruise Planners continues to be an energetic advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, with membership in both the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (GFLGLCC), and a seat on many cruise line and travel advisory boards as a strong supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.

Cruise Planners Personal Connection to the LGBT community

In 2015, Cruise Planners COO and co-owner Vicky Garcia renewed her vows with her wife along with 100 other couples at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitor Bureau’s “Love is Love” wedding ceremony celebrating legal gay marriage in Florida. At the event, Cruise Planners partnered with Celebrity Cruises to provide a honeymoon cruise giveaway for one lucky couple.

Vicky Garcia LGBT Travel Cruise Planners Love is Love

In 2018, Cruise Planners Home Office Team member Francisco and his husband Ben became the first same-sex couple to legally marry at sea when Celebrity Cruises chose them to hold their nuptials on board Celebrity Equinox, an exciting event celebrated throughout the cruise industry.

Francisco LGBT Wedding Celebrity Cruises Cruise Planners

LGBTQ+ friendly marketing materials to help boost travel sales

Cruise Planners has a variety of marketing items available to help reach the LGBTQ+ market including:

  • Customizable postcards
  • Free downloadable personalized ads in every size for publication
  • Free eCards with LGBTQ-focused imagery
  • Inclusive imagery throughout CP materials, including wedding/honeymoons. We proudly incorporate bride/bride, groom/groom imagery and gender-neutral imagery so that marketing is relevant for all audiences
  • LGBTQ Travel Style data capture for list segmentation
  • And…an LGBTQ version of the Cruise Planners logo for agent use

PowerPoint Presentation


Many Cruise Planners travel advisors and their clients support the LGBTQ+ community by attending pride events around the world, and with the understanding and agreement that LGBTQ+ travel is not just LGBTQ-specific events but rather personal exploration of global destinations as stated in Travel Age West: “Agents should be utilizing the globe and sending LGBTQ people everywhere — not boxing them in and treating them as if they are different than a straight couple. As I travel the globe with my husband, we travel to see the world, not to see other gay people.”

Cruise Planners agents also have access to booking Atlantis Events, RSVP Vacations, Olivia travel and Brand G tours for LGBTQ groups. Also, Cruise Planners packaged vacation providers such as Classic Vacations, Pleasant Holidays and Delta Vacations sell LGBTQ+ friendly properties for travel agents to sell for individuals and groups.

Talk with one of our Franchise Development Managers about turning your passion for travel into a career by owning Cruise Planners home-based travel franchise.

Cruise Planners Adds 9 Magellan Awards to MarTech Accomplishments

From video marketing to automatic technology programs and creative marketing campaigns, Cruise Planners shines again

With nine Travel Weekly 2018 Magellan Awards to add to its awards shelf, Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, continues to pave the way for franchise companies as a MarTech powerhouse. These awards represent the combined efforts of Cruise Planners’ internal Marketing, Technology, Business Development and Training Teams who work with Cruise Planners’ nationwide network of travel advisors to develop the tools travel advisors need to be competitive in the travel industry.

Cruise Planners Magellan Awards MarTech

“We see our different departments as one cohesive Home Office Team and their strengths in collaboration and development lead us to be ahead of the curve in MarTech and the recipient of nine prestigious Magellan awards,” said Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners. “We continue to thrive and be inspired because of our incredible travel advisors who hit the ground running with every new tool we give them.”

Cruise Planners MarTech Magellan Awards:

  • Gold Awards:
    • Marketing Campaigns:
      • Pack Your Bags, the World is Yours – Direct mail and digital campaign highlighting cruise and land vacations in bucket-list destinations around the world
      • Reflect & Renew, Direct Mail – Luxury travel campaign featuring Cruise Planners’ top high-end land-based vacations
      • What Does Travel Mean to You? – Cruise Planners Summer 2017 Travel Planner magazine focusing on travel experiences with exclusive offers, editorial, interviews with industry executives and more
    • Client Newsletter: Cruise Planners weekly Travel Deals email newsletter featuring cruise and land travel offers
    • Website Marketing: CP Video Network powered by Trifecta in partnership with Cruise Planners hosted on travel advisors’ websites with customizable end tags filmed unique to each travel advisor
    • Travel Agent Innovation: Two Alexa Skills for Cruise Planners travel advisors and consumers
  • Silver Awards:
    • Marketing Campaign:
      • Where Will Travel Take You? – Destination-focused campaign featuring offers to coincide with Cruise Line Industry Association’s Plan a Cruise Month
      • Flavors of the World – Foodie-themed cruise multimedia campaign featuring culinary experiences and shipboard recipes to inspire travelers to “get whisked away” and take advantage of “mouthwatering offers.”
    • Travel Agent Innovation: CP Maxx booking and management system for travel advisors integrated with major cruise lines and tour operators

What is MarTech?

MarTech – the intersection of marketing and technology – is the blending of two essential business tools to grow Cruise Planners travel advisors’ sales by making marketing efforts more effective using time-saving, intuitive technology while increasing the level of customer service and human connection travel advisors are able to provide. Cruise Planners has recently won multiple awards for its MarTech initiatives including the CLIA’s Innovator of the Year Hall of Fame Award and the International Franchise Association’s FranTech Award for Innovation.

How does MarTech benefit travel advisors?

Cruise Planners uses technology to make travel advisors’ marketing efforts more targeted and therefore more effective. When sending a direct mail piece, such as the winning “Reflect & Renew” luxury land travel piece, Cruise Planners travel advisors log into CP Maxx, a proprietary booking and management system, through which they can view their segmented lists of luxury clients as determined by CP Insights. CP Insights is designed to choose the right clients for each marketing piece based on previous purchases coupled with psychographic and demographic details allowing each campaign to reach clients with relevant, customized travel offers. All of Cruise Planners tools integrate seamlessly, making their combined usage simple and quick for the travel advisor.

“Cruise Planners is always moving forward with new tools such as voice-activated Alexa skills but also stays committed to what we know works such as beautiful direct mail pieces sent to our agents’ clients’ mailboxes,” Garcia said. “Travel is a unique industry and each year brings with it new trends and challenges our travel advisors and Home Office Team take on as they lead the way in making customers’ travel desires an incredible reality.”

Cruise Planners travel advisors and Home Office Team will come together for its annual Convention November 26-29, 2018 in Hollywood, Fla. followed by an inaugural sailing on the new Celebrity Edge. where agents will receive the latest updates on and hands-on training with Cruise Planners MarTech advancements.

Cruise Planners: The Only Travel Franchise to Make a Splash on Inc 5000 List

Cruise Planners enters Inc. 5000 Hall of Fame with six-time appearance on the fastest-growing private companies in America list

Cruise Planners®, an American Express Travel Representative, has once again earned a spot on Inc. magazine’s 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. Cruise Planners has been ranked six years in a row with a three-year growth of 69 percent. This prestigious honor places Cruise Planners on the Inc. Hall of Fame list, a rare achievement for a travel brand, especially a home-based travel company.

Cruise Planners an American Express Travel Representative Inc 5000

“This 2018 Inc. 5000 honor is a remarkable stepping stone for Cruise Planners as we have continuously proven ourselves as an innovative franchise company changing the travel industry,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and founder of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. “This growth is thanks to our incredible network of franchisees who keep surpassing the sales targets we have with our partners alongside our growing Home Office Team, who work to inspire and support our franchisees.”

As the nation’s leading home-based travel franchise, Cruise Planners is always working to accommodate and exceed the needs of franchises, specifically in the areas of:

  • MarTech Tools to Work from Anywhere – The Cruise Planners Technology Team launched a new tech platform, CP Maxx™, a work-from-anywhere tool that gives Cruise Planners agents access to hands-free marketing and reporting tools as well as the industry’s first voice-activated technology in the form of two Alexa skills.
  • Business Coaching to Drive Franchisee Success – The Business Development Team ensures travel franchise owners are set up for success by providing regular coaching calls and assisting with strategic business growth.

Cruise Planners prides itself in creating sales opportunities for its nationwide network of home-based travel agents while agents are inspired, trained and prepared to focus on selling travel. Cruise Planners agents push the envelope with their dedication to sales, while delivering personalized customer service to their clients.

“Our agents continue to make a positive impact in overall sales and build a positive reputation around the country,” Fee said. “Their efforts and positive Cruisitude™ helps maintain our strong brand image while servicing travelers and connecting them with unique vacation opportunities.”

Inc. exclusive annual 5000 list ranks company’s performance and growth by percentage revenue from the last three years and has been a tradition since 1982. Inc. recognizes the hard work of respected private businesses in America and earning a place on the list is nothing but a rewarding accomplishment. According to James Ledbetter, Inc. Editor in Chief, “We believe the credit for job growth should go to the leaders who’ve made this list.”

Cruise Planners Takes the Carnival Corporation Triple Crown

Start business ownership off on the right foot: Join the franchise company with the strongest travel industry partnerships

As a Cruise Planners franchise owner, you’re starting off your travel business with credibility and name recognition, not just from our American Express Travel affiliation, but also with our longstanding excellence with our travel partners. Cruise Planners recently took home three top sales awards from Carnival Corporations’ largest brands: Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises.

  • Holland America Line – Founder’s Award Winner, their highest honor
  • Carnival Cruise Line - Franchise of the Year, following up last year’s Ted Arison Founder’s Award win
  • Princess Cruises – Franchise of the Year

Cruise Planners Recognized at Carnival Corporations Excellence Awards

In this arena, Cruise Planners continues to outshine travel franchise competitors as Cruise Planners was the only home-based travel company honored. These strong partnerships are so valuable to the success of Cruise Planners and our franchise owners, allowing us to secure the highest commissions in the industry, offer exclusive promotions for clients including special discounts or value-add amenities and giving Cruise Planners’ executive team a platform to be an advocate for franchise owners like you.

Cruise Planners martech initiatives work hand-in-hand with all travel partners including Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises. Our travel partners are frequently included in our print and digital marketing campaigns and are synced with Cruise Planners’ reservation system, CP Maxx, so travel agents can manage bookings all in one place. Cruise Planners business-in-a-box franchise model and longstanding industry partnerships are designed to help franchise owners succeed in the travel industry.

Start your successful career as a travel agent and franchise owner with Cruise Planners. Connect with one of our Franchise Development Managers today.