Agents were fist-bumping in the elevator on the Norwegian Escape after hearing the announcement from Debbie Fiorino about a new brand launch for CruiseOne—Dream Vacations—during CruiseOne/Cruises Inc.’s 2015 National Conference.
“We saw what agents were doing—initially it was land or resort vacations—and seeing that double digit growth year after year just proved they wanted something more than just a cruise name,” says Debbie Fiorino, senior v.p. of CruiseOne/Cruises Inc. and human resources. “Talking to top agents and to the entire network, they were telling us how they were missing opportunities. Because the word ‘cruise’ was getting in their way. ‘Dream vacations start here’ has been our tagline for the last four years, so it’s been an evolution of the tagline. But as we’ve been going through this process, it was more, ‘let’s talk about experiences.’ We wanted an experiential brand. We wanted to tell people why we do what we do, not necessarily what we do.”
World Travel Holdings’ Co-CEO/Chairman Brad Tolkin adds that it wasn’t just the feedback from franchisers that contributed to the new brand, but the growth the company has seen in sales outside of cruise. “It was decided not just by people telling us, but by the numbers,” he says. “This brand speaks to a large group of franchise owners who still want their primary product to be cruise, but still want that customer coming back every year they take a vacation. Our CruiseOne volume will continue to grow greater than the capacity growth for the cruise industry every year. That’s absolutely no doubt in my mind. Our CruiseOne brand has grown double digits while we’re building our resort vacation business, which is also growing double digits,” he notes.
The new Dream Vacations travel franchise brand is now available for existing franchisees to sign up. They can choose to either make the switch from CruiseOne to Dream Vacations or remain as a CruiseOne franchisee.
Some agents are not wasting any time. Just a couple hours after the announcement, a husband and wife team of CruiseOne franchise owners from Lantana, Florida were making the switch. They have grown and evolved with the company over the past 14 years in business. First, they spent seven years as part of Cruise Inc., before switching to CruiseOne for the last seven years. Now they are taking on the change again. “Wow! I remember how excited we were when we added ‘dream vacations start here’ to the name,” says the wife, Helen O’Hare. While her husband, Al Richman, adds, “Change is the best way to open a multitude of opportunity.”
Although current franchisers can make the switch now, the official launch takes place on April 4, 2016. On that date, their website will change to branding with the Dream Vacations logo, as well as their e-mail communications, marketing info, business cards, newsletters and more. However, for those agents who are not so quick to make the switch, don’t worry, as Tolkin points out, “this is an internal option.” Franchisers can sign up or make the switch if they choose to whenever they are ready.
Although cruise continues to be the company’s main business, this new brand reflects the evolution of travel for the travel agent community, as land vacations are up double digits over the past year. However, Tolkin points out that for CruiseOne, “Nothing changes except that there’s an additional brand.”
Dream Vacations franchisees will have access to the same marketing support and training benefits as CruiseOne franchisees. The company’s marketing program will also be revamped, in conjunction with the new brand’s launch in the second quarter of 2016.
Now, if you’re wondering how the name came to be, well that’s pretty self-explanatory, as Fiorino says, “We kept hearing people say, ‘What’s my dream vacation?’ It’s not about the cruise, it’s about the experience. For more information, visit cruiseonefranchise.com.