November 11, 2010 – Launching this year’s 2010 Convention with the theme of “C.H.A.N.G.E.,” Cruise Planners/American Express, the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise network in the cruise industry, kicked off day one of its sold out annual convention with presentations by industry professionals, agent-to-agent breakout sessions and several new launches, including the announcement of an upgraded version of its exclusive eREZSM platform.
Cruise Planners/American Express is hosting more than 400 home-based travel agents for two full days of events centered on this year’s theme of adapting to a changing travel industry. The big news of the day came from Brian Shultz, Cruise Planners’ senior director of information technology, announcing upgrades to eREZSM, Cruise Planners’ first web-based customer relations management program helping agents organize and store in-depth booking and client information. The reservations tool will soon be powered with live cabin availability, itineraries and exclusive Cruise Planners pricing coupled with a direct connection to CPpod, their exclusive print-on-demand marketing portal and a new three-click access to their highly profitable third-party insurance vendor.
“Launching these upgrades to our online reservations tool and introducing it to our agents during convention is our way of showing our commitment to their success in this ever-changing business environment,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and co-founder of Cruise Planners/American Express. “We want our agents to focus on what they do best, selling and helping their customers find the right vacations. Our Home Office team is continually working to create the tools to help our agents stay ahead of the trends without lagging behind the current momentum building in the cruise industry. Our goal within the next few days is for our agents to learn from our speakers and each other and to embrace the tide of change with confidence, determination and new skills.”
Generating widespread excitement in relation to its 2011 CP Cares program supporting charitable organizations, Vicky Garcia, senior vice president of sales and marketing, announced a partnership with the Wyland Foundation to raise dollars during convention from auctions, “bling” shirt sales and internal donation programs to assist the foundation’s clean water pledge campaign and increase awareness on the effects of climate change. For the next two days, agents will be attending one-to-one breakout sessions with peers, training sessions and “fireside chats” with home office executives and directors. On Friday, November 12, Cruise Planners is hosting an executive panel discussion presenting Vicki Freed of Royal Caribbean International, Lynn Torrent with Carnival Cruise Lines and Dondra Ritzenthaler with Celebrity Cruises, just to name a few.
As the 2010 Cruise Planners Convention continues, follow the latest news and announcements by becoming a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CruisePlannersAmEx and following Cruise Planners on Twitter @CPMichelle and @Cruisitude.
About Cruise Planners/American Express
Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Services Representative, is the largest home-based travel agent network in the cruise industry with more than 700 franchise owners across the country that independently book cruises and associated travel. Named No.1 Cruise Tour / Travel Agency by Entrepreneur magazine for the past seven years, Cruise Planners positions franchise owners for success by providing them with innovating marketing, booking and lead-generating tools as well as professional development and hands-on training with the industry’s top executives.
Headquartered in Coral Springs, Fla., Cruise Planners has achieved top producer status with every major cruise line. Accolades include Royal Caribbean International Home-based Partner of the Year (2007 – 2009); Regent Seven Seas Cruises Top Producer (2009); and American Express Travel Representative Excellence Awards (2004 – 2009). For more general information, please visit www.cruiseplannersfranchise.com.