Cruise Planners Benefits From Strategic Pandemic Response

Travel advisors were on the front lines as the pandemic began. As the world was shutting down, travel advisors were being called on by their clients to help them get home, cancel plans, reroute flights and find refunds.

“When travel restrictions went into effect, travel agents sprang into action and worked around the clock to get their clients home safely, apply for refunds or credits for future travel and help them rebook a future trip. They truly served as an advocate for their clients and did everything they could to help protect their travel investment,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and founder of Cruise Planners.

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As we were all staying safe and staying at home, Cruise Planners was springing to action to help its franchisees, whose business had all but dried up with the world closed down.

The company decided to focus on making sure its travel advisors were equipped to weather the storm and were ready to go when travel reopened, looking ahead to see that travel advisors were likely going to hold the keys to travel’s recovery.

Cruise Planners announced 20 new programs and tools to help travel advisors with one of its most successful being its virtual series, Where2Next.

The program capitalized on clients’ dreams of travel while they stayed home, showcasing new destinations each and generating future sales for Cruise Planners franchisees.

“Our virtual travel series is a way to introduce destinations to our advisors’ clients,” said Michelle Fee, Founder and CEO of Cruise Planners. “We can provide this program to our advisors which is not only free to them but completely hands-free as well. Our marketing and technology automation does all the work including sending the invitations, reminders, scheduling the travel suppliers, negotiating the special offers and even the follow-up after the event with everything sent from the advisor to their client to maintain that one-on-one relationship.”

The program helped generate $20 million in new travel sales and had more than 18,000 registered new subscribers.

Its roster of supportive programs for travel advisors has led to strong sales performance for Cruise Planners overall. Despite the emergence of Omicron, Cruise Planners data found that pent-up demand for travel superseded worries of the virus.

Travel bookings have increased across all three of its top cruise destinations, including Europe, Alaska and the Caribbean. Cruise Planners credits its strong performance to its ongoing marketing efforts, including the publication of the 2022 Vacation Planning Guide and direct mail pieces, which have traditionally correlated with increased sales activity.

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