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|Friday was the official launch day for Dream Vacations, a new travel agency brand that’s a CruiseOne company under the World Travel Holdings umbrella. The organization celebrated its big day with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Bruce Roberts, Fort Lauderdale commissioner, and Gwendolen Clarke-Reed, Florida state representative.|
Also attending were Glenn Wiltshire, deputy director of Port Everglades, and Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales, trade support and service, Royal Caribbean International.
In addition to remarks from company leaders, the ceremony featured Commissioner Roberts proclaiming it “Dream Vacations Day” in Fort Lauderdale.
The launch of the new brand is designed to assist any CruiseOne franchise agencies who sell a sizable amount of land travel and may desire their company's name and public persona to reflect a more broad-based travel portfolio.
|Left to right: Caitlan Etchevers, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitor’s Bureau; Glenn Wiltshire, deputy director, Port Everglades; Gwendolen Clarke-Reed, Florida state representative; Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president, Dream Vacations; Brad Tolkin, co-chairman/CEO of World Travel Holdings; Bruce Roberts, city commissioner, Fort Lauderdale; Drew Daly, general manager of network engagement and performance, Dream Vacations.|
Making the Switch
|Monica Calenda has switched from CruiseOne to Dream Vacations branding.|
CruiseOne announced the planned launch of Dream Vacations last fall onboard Norwegian Escape, during the CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. annual conference.
Since then franchise owners have been evaluating whether it's best for their business model to stay with the CruiseOne branding or to switch to Dream Vacations. Switching is totally voluntary. It really depends on the business model of the agency.
What do suppliers think? Freed says the new name has advantages — most notably broadening the reach of agencies to draw in potential customers who may want a vacation on land.
While that may seem a bit surprising for a cruise executive to say, there's a good reason. “The cruise industry is anxious to get more first timers to try cruising,” Freed emphasizes. “Therefore once a client has purchased a land-based vacation, we rely on the travel advisor to ‘introduce' cruising to many non-cruisers.”
She believes that having skilled cruise sellers who sell the client a land-based vacation may mean that for their next vacation, the agent may be successful in tempting the customer to try cruising. Once they sail, the repeat rate is very high.
Freed also believes the new name could keep clients loyal to the travel agent who has sold them a cruise when that same customer decides to “cheat on the cruise industry” and book a land-based vacation. Simply put, not all clients may wish to cruise all the time; they could love cruising, but desire once in awhile to try a tour or all-inclusive resort.
CruiseOne agents have told us over the years that their loyal clients often head for a different agency when they want to buy a land product. When asked why, the client tells them: “I didn't think you sold that type of vacation.”
Three Agency Owners Sound Off
Travel Agent talked with three former CruiseOne agencies around the country about why they made the change to Dream Vacations and what the reaction has been thus far.
Larkspur, CO: “Switching to Dream Vacations was the best business decision I ever made,” says Monica Calenda, a former CruiseOne agency owner who’s now marketing under the new monicker. “I have been receiving so many calls since I started posting about our transition.”
Calenda says she knew that would be the reaction of new and existing customers. “People needed to know I could help them with more than cruises and now they do,” she says.
|Alan Rosenbaum, a Dream Vacations franchise owner|
Johns Creek, GA: For more than 12 years, Alan Rosenbaum has been selling travel under the CruiseOne name. “This was great at first, when all I sold was cruises, but as our portfolio grew to include all things related to vacations, the name just didn’t work,” he says.
His clients just never remembered that he was a vacation specialist, not simply a cruise specialist. So he took the plunge to the new branding.
“As it turns out, the publicity surrounding the rebranding has generated a lot of interest from new potential customers, as well as existing clients who thought I only sold cruises and now want me to book their other vacations,” Rosenbaum stresses.
Wesley Chapel, FL: “We decided to make the change from CruiseOne to Dream Vacations because over the prior six years as a franchise, our clients thought we only sold cruises,” says Chris Schubert.
He believes that with the name change to Dream Vacations, his agency will be recognized as the “go-to team” for all types of vacations, not just cruises. Schubert’s view? “The name change will help us propel our business to the next level and we are up for the challenge.”
|Chris and Cheryl Schubert, owners of a Dream Vacations franchise|
A New Brand
The launch of Dream Vacations kicked off Friday with a ribbon cutting at the CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. offices in Fort Lauderdale, FL. All three brands are owned by World Travel Holdings.
“The ribbon cutting was a celebration of the hard work and dedication that our team devoted to launching this new brand,” said Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president, Dream Vacations. “It was an honor receiving a proclamation from Commissioner Roberts and sharing the moment with local franchisees and travel industry executives.”
“I like Dream Vacations since the name clearly defines what cruising delivers and our segment [of the travel industry] is the ultimate dream vacation,” Freed added, pointing to the cruise industry's high level of guest satisfaction in industry surveys.
In addition to Friday's ribbon cutting, the new franchise celebrated its launch by partnering with Celebrity Cruises and resort partners Apple Vacations and GOGO Vacations, to host food truck takeovers in New York, California, South Florida and other markets throughout the U.S.
Dream Vacations' new consumer website is www.dreamvacations.com, while agents interested in learning more about the new franchise can visit www.dreamvacationsfranchise.com.