World Travel Holdings, the world's largest cruise agency and award-winning leisure travel company, announces that 2014 was a successful year of growth and innovation for its home-based division, comprised of CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.
From opening its 900th franchise location and shattering new Cruises Inc. unit openings year over year to obtaining a new company leader and winning prestigious awards such as being named a Top Private Company in Florida by Florida Trend and South Florida Business Journal and Top Company for People on the Move by Sun Sentinel, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. realized many achievements this year.
“2014 was a year of many positive changes at CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. and I am pleased with how our agent community and corporate headquarters team responded,” said Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president of CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. “Our network is more engaged than ever and if 2014 is a sign of things to come, I know 2015 will be an even more impressive year.”
With many of the seismic industry events in the past, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. experienced double-digit sales growth year over year in 2014. Its cruise business continued as the main foundation and core strength in sales; however, in 2014 land sales experienced a roughly 30 percent increase.
As a result of an incremental half million dollar investment, the information technology team grew to 20 members and not only implemented new Agile processes that enabled technology enhancements to be released every three weeks, but the team also made infrastructure changes in preparation for unrivaled features and enhancements in 2015 and beyond. Other major technology functions created this past year simplified the booking process for agents.
• State-of-the-art and easy-to-use group registration website that expands the agent’s ability to reach out to prospective clients and groups with the click of a button
• Booking validation tool for quality assurance
• Enhanced reporting for back office needs
These technology innovations enabled members of the network to operate their businesses more efficiently and thus provide clients with a higher level of service.
Fiorino noted “The cornerstone of our business is not about being the largest in size, but being an organization that prides itself on helping our owners and agents in building their dream businesses.” The franchise and network development team at CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. had a milestone year.
• The team shattered sales records in 2014, with both brands continuing to grow at a pace that will enable the company to maximize output.
• CruiseOne reached more than 900 franchises at a rate of 10 percent year over year.
• Cruises Inc. grew close to 5 percent in net unit growth.
• CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. network’s retention rate is at a five-year high close to 95 percent.
Also noteworthy, in early 2014 CruiseOne pledged that military veterans and active-duty spouses would comprise 25 percent of the network by the end of the year; the company exceeded this goal and is honored to report that military veterans and spouses make up 30 percent of its network.
Enhanced marketing programs directly contributed to the increase in sales.
• A direct marketing piece resulted in a 73 percent sales increase year over year with one of CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.’s cruise line partners.
• Shopping Cart Abandonment program produced triple-digit sales revenue increases for both brands by following up with potential customers who visited the consumer websites but did not make a purchase. It was named Marketing Campaign of the Year by Small Business Influencers.
Additionally, in 2014 CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. further demonstrated its industry leadership by launching a revolutionary travel video library, consisting of nearly 40 travel vlogs. Beneficial to consumers and travel professionals, these videos
• Provides a first-person look at what it’s like to stay at a resort or travel on a cruise by showcasing unique destinations, various cruises and different experiences available
• Shares background information and insider tips
• Have had more than 10,000 viewers since launching in November
CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. franchisees and agents have access to the company’s award-winning training programs such as The Learning Center, an online learning management system. The CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. network also has unparalleled access to industry executives who frequent training events where they forge relationships and provide education on their products. Executives attend a weeklong introduction course for new franchisees each month, weekly engagement calls, regional trainings and National Conference at sea.
• Attendance at offsite learning events grew by 73 percent year over year.
• Strong attendance at five regional trainings, seminars at sea and the company’s largest National Conference ever with more than 900 attendees.
This increased engagement solidifies the importance of connecting with agents beyond corporate headquarters and virtually.
CruiseOne Franchise Owner Sharon Savage is a strong proponent of the regional trainings and believes it is time well spent, while Cruises Inc. agent Amy Fasbinder believes these trainings are invaluable.
Giving back is a cornerstone of World Travel Holdings and in 2014 more than $100,000, or the equivalent of 10 wishes, was donated to Make-A-Wish®. Agents, franchise owners and the corporate headquarters team all got involved by participating in onboard fundraisers such as Zumba@Sea – Dance for Wishes and the silent auction during the annual National Conference, as well as corporate teambuilding events such as the Gift Basket Fundraiser.