|Debbie Fiorino // Photo by Susan J. Young|
In a move described as a "game changer,” Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., announced earlier this week at the groups' annual conference on Norwegian Escape that in 2016, CruiseOne will launch a new brand that speaks to more than just cruise vacations. Called Dream Vacations, the brand is designed to help broaden the public's view of what the agencies sell.
"In business, especially the travel business, change is inevitable and growth is optional,” said Fiorino. “Change brings on a lot of fear – the fear of the unknown, the fear of a new path and the fear to do things differently.
"Change is both scary and exciting but in our industry, it’s necessary for us to continue to be a leader," she continued. "As a business, it’s critical and crucial that we are seen as a leader of change, versus following in someone else’s shoes.”
The new brand is designed to more accurately reflect the broad range of products which many of the agencies sell. Agencies have the option of switching to the new brand or keeping their CruiseOne branding. For more on the announcement, read our previous story.
"Change can be risky, and as with any risk it can be rewarding," emphasized Fiorino. "You will never know, though, until you begin to make those changes."
|New Dream Vacations Logo|
At the previous year’s annual conference, the organization showed how land sales -- bookings for resorts, all-inclusives and tours -- could help boost agencies' revenues.
As a result of strong sales, “we want to provide you with an identity that goes beyond cruise, but at the same time, recognizes all the different people that make up our network…and our customers," said Fiorino.
Some CruiseOne agencies sell just cruise, others sell cruise and a little land, and others sell a balanced mix of cruise and land.
|Brad Tolkin of World Travel Holdings // Photo by Susan J. Young|
Brad Tolkin, co-chaiman/co-CEO, World Travel Holdings, parent company of the CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. brands, stressed that his organization remains strongly focused on becoming the dominant cruise distributor.
Yet, Tolkin noted that it's also important to retain customers who may at times seek a different type of vacation. A good business analogy? “Dunkin Donuts doesn’t just sell donuts and coffee but also sandwiches," Tolkin emphasized.
We asked Tolkin what he'd say to a CruiseOne franchise agency owner who asks him, “What should I do – switch or not?" Tolkin responded: “There is no timetable on making that decision.”
He emphasized the option is always available whenever the franchise agency owner chooses to make the decision, whether that’s now, next April when Dream Vacations launches, several years from now, or never.
It’s totally up to the franchise owner. Both brands will be fully supported. A Q&A has been created to answer questions for the agency owners, plus CruiseOne "Town Hall" meetings will also help answer questions and explain what making a switch entails.
That said, on the first day of the announcement, at least 60 CruiseOne agencies immediately signed up to switch to the Dream Vacations brand, according to Rosemarie Reed, vice president of marketing, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. As of November 19, more than 100 agencies had signed up to switch.
|Agent Audience at CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. Annual Conference // Photo by Susan J. Young|
Travel Agent also met with many CruiseOne franchise agency owners later that day. Here is a small sampling of that feedback.
• Trinita Brown of CruiseOne in Washington D.C. definitely plans to switch to Dream Vacations, because she says her sophisticated clients are constantly seeking “bucket list travel” that covers the globe. She believes the new branding better represents what she does and should strongly appeal to her clients.
• Troy Ray of CruiseOne in White Marsh, MD, was an outside agent for eight years and then switched to CruiseOne, so he feels that switching branding a third time in two years is probably too much. He plans to stick with CruiseOne at this time.
• Alan Richman and Helen O’Hare of CruiseOne in Lantana, FL, are planning to switch to Dream Vacations, telling us that the change “means progress” and that they’re up for the challenge.
• Aggie Batista of CruiseOne in Rockaway Park, NY, is still evaluating whether to change to the new brand, but “I do feel Dream Vacations is a great idea.”
• Randy Gonzalez, who has a storefront CruiseOne agency in Clearwater, FL, and annually posts almost $1 million in sales, will switch to Dream Vacations because “I have tons of clients who do not know we do other things [besides cruise sales].”
• Chris Caulfield of CruiseOne in Croton on Hudson, NY, is “leaning toward staying” with the CruiseOne brand, as his agency focuses strongly on cruise sales. That said, he will learn more about the new brand at an upcoming CruiseOne Town Hall meeting.
• Bill Schneider of CruiseOne in Tampa has switched from Cruises Inc. to CruiseOne, so says he might as well switch to the new Dream Vacations brand as it better reflects what the agency is selling.
• Andrea Joyce, a Cruises Inc. hosted agent, Somers, NY, is in the midst of a move to CruiseOnefranchise ownership so she’ll definitely take the new Dream Vacations branding.
• Jason Armstrong of CruiseOne in Spokane, WA, is "thinking about it" and evaluating which avenue is best but “I’ll probably go that way,” he says about Dream Vacations. “It opens up more possibilities.”
“Cruises will continue to be the core of our business,” Fiorino stressed, but noted “diversification allows for growth. We sell more than cruises …We sell experiences. We sell vacations.”