Approximately 600 travel advisors attending the annual Dream Vacations and CruiseOne conference aboard Norwegian Encore cheered and clapped Tuesday in the ship’s theater. Why? In the first major “reveal” of this national conference for the two franchisee-owned agency groups, both part of World Travel Holdings, Sandi Szalay, vice president of information technology, announced a razzle-dazzle, new Groups Application.
Scheduled to debut in February 2023, the innovative technology is designed to help Dream Vacations and CruiseOne franchise agency advisors more easily book, track and service both group cruise and land vacation bookings. It’s also compatible with multiple devices and browsers.
Noting that group sales are a “very profitable opportunity” for advisors, Szalay said her team worked closely with Dream Vacations and CruiseOne travel advisors serving on the organization’s IT Committee to get their first-hand perspective throughout the build. “The streamlined and more user-friendly Groups Application is going to motivate those who are not booking groups to take that first step while helping the groups' experts take this aspect of their business to the next level,” believes Szalay.
Stacey Harrington, a Dream Vacations franchise owner from Spotsylvania, VA, who books a lot of groups, is “really looking forward to the roll-out of the Groups Application. I love it as a Mac person and it will be a lot easier to book groups.” She’s also loves “having my business portable and ‘on the go.’” She’ll soon be able to use her Mac laptop, desktop, phone and tablet to both book groups and deliver top-notch experiences for clients.
Travel Agent also chatted with Sharon Grant of Dream Vacations, Grand Rapids, MI, a member of the IT Committee. What will the new technology mean for her business? “The new Groups Application has been eagerly anticipated and will be a game-changer for everyone in our network,” she believes “It is very intuitive and multi-browser friendly. It also has robust reporting tools as well as group analytics that we will be able to utilize.”
Grant also said that the new app should help improve an advisor’s efficiency, which she believes, in turn, will help increase productivity. “It also includes a group registration page which we can easily access, modify and then circulate to potential guests,” she adds. Plus, Grant says that the reports available via the new group app are “a very professional set of tools for us to use with our guests.”
Also on Tuesday, tapping into the national conference’s theme of “Forward,” Debbie Fiorino, chief operating officer for the two franchisee-owned brands, delivered a strong keynote address about moving forward despite change. She talked about the need for progression and improvement. In addition, she emphasized that change is inevitable and to not let the way things are "supposed to be” or circumstances that can't be controlled get in the way. Another strong thread within Fiorino’s messaging was that for advisors to achieve success, they must focus on themselves and their business—not the competition or what others are doing.
In addition, “our agents are making the most of their learning and networking experiences onboard and I know they will hit the ground running with new ideas for their business when we return to shore,” she emphasizes. The conference continues on Norwegian Encore throughout the week.
For information about a Dream Vacations or CruiseOne franchise, visit www.dreamvacationsfranchise.com.