CruiseOne: Selling Dream Vacations from Home
CruiseOne: Selling Dream Vacations from Home

By BEN HEINEMANN

“A Vacation is like an American’s right of passage,” said Tim Courtney, the director of franchise development for CruiseOne. “Vacations mean so much to so many people.”

Despite the economic climate, people are still taking vacations. And in an age where the consumer has become.....

By BEN HEINEMANN

“A Vacation is like an American’s right of passage,” said Tim Courtney, the director of franchise development for CruiseOne. “Vacations mean so much to so many people.”

Despite the economic climate, people are still taking vacations. And in an age where the consumer has become their own travel agent, people are still booking vacations, especially when it comes to cruises, with the help of professionals.

As CruiseOne celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, the travel franchise is booming despite the rise of websites like Travelocity and Kayak.

“We know having an online presence is important, which is why all of our franchisees get their own websites, but we also know through study groups that online bookings, especially for cruises and vacations, is still relatively low,” explained Courtney. “They may do a lot of the research for the vacation online, but once the consumer narrows down what they want to do, they’ll call a travel agent.”

Courtney explains that at the time of the company’s founding in 1992, the travel industry was fragmented with lots of mom and pop operations. Once the airlines started to change the way they did business, a lot of these brick and mortar travel businesses closed, which is when CruiseOne became a great option for people who wanted to be in the travel industry but wanted a low barrier for entry and something that could be home based.

“Especially in the cruise industry, we had an incredible opportunity with our home-based model. With very little investment, franchisees get the technology, marketing tools, support and relationships with suppliers that folks wouldn’t get on their own.”

That “very little investment” is $9,800 as a starting cost, which is a small price to pay to be part of the CruiseOne community, in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of World Travel Holdings, one of the largest travel companies on the planet.

“Since you’re part of this larger system, our franchisees can take advantage of the sales and promotions we can offer travelers. We fund free trips and promotions. We will even front the deposit customers must place to save their spots on ships. Again, this is something an independent could not offer their customers.”

Franchisees in the CruiseOne system come from many different backgrounds, however about 75 to 80 percent of its franchisees coming from outside the travel industry. For many, it’s a “second act” type of job, one that they can easily manage and run from their home with a phone and an internet connection.

With ports of call located up and down both coasts of the United States (“Anyone in the U.S. could basically drive to a port of call nowadays,” said Courtney), franchising in the cruise industry provides an almost evergreen opportunity.

“It’s fun, flexible and very profitable,” said Courtney. “You can operate from the comfort of your own home, and you’re selling people their dream vacation. There’s really no better job than that.”

CruiseOne by the Numbers:



















Founded: 1992
Started Franchising: 1992
Total Investment: $4,600-$26,270
Total Units: 750

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