To become a Cruise Planner is a very interesting and earning job. If you are interested to start a cruise planner franchise, you would be glad to know that it can easily be carried out while sitting at home. However, the essential thing is that you should have an aptitude and interest in the travel agency business. Before starting to discuss the procedure to become a Cruise Planner, we should first understand what the business is.
What is a Cruise:
A cruise is in itself a floating city in the sea, specially designed for tourists. It can accommodate a large number of passengers, sometimes in thousands. It is a luxurious hotel, providing different levels of comforts for the tourists. Being a city, it contains a number of restaurants and bars, shops, cinema, theater, swimming pool, casino, games to play and many other things for enjoyment and entertainment. Moreover, the staff of the cruise is well trained and provide a very friendly environment to the tourists.
Cruise ships have gained popularity during the last decade due to the facilities and enjoyments provided on board. Normally, the cruise provides a round trip to its customers. Different types of packages are offered by the cruise management depending upon the length of the journey in the sea, the number of ports to be visited during the journey, number of days to be in the sea and the facilities to be provided during the journey. It is an excellent option to spend vacations with full entertainment and excursion. People like to spend their holidays on a cruise to get maximum enjoyment during their vacations. Those, who have never been on a cruise, surely like to be on board at least once in their lives and those who have traveled once wish to be on board a second time, even again and again. An experience to travel in the sea is very fascinating. You will remember it for the whole of your life. However, it is an expensive entertainment.
A Cruise Planner:
Anyone who knows english and has computer and a fast internet connection can become a cruise planner. A cruise planner is a person who works on behalf of the cruise liner on commission basis. It is a franchise business. A Cruise Planner is also called a cruise agent, cruise trip advisor and a cruise trip planner. Since the cruise planner business mostly goes side by side with a travel agency, he is sometimes also referred to as travel agent, travel consultant and travel planner. The word specialized services may also be added to give the designation a professional look.
How To become a Cruise Planner:
As already mentioned above, this is a franchise business. A cruise planner sells packages offered by the cruise liners and earns commission. You have to search for the cruise liners and look for their terms and conditions to become a franchise cruise planner. While looking for the terms & conditions, you must find out the following:
- Whether the company (Cruise Liner) allows you to work at home? Can it be a part time job?
- Whether the company will allow you to simultaneously run a travel agency business.
- What type of franchise facility the company is offering? Better if it is a turnkey offer.
- What is the franchise fee for different categories?
- What are the liquidity requirements of the company?
- How much commission is offered in each category of franchise?
- Does the company have a training program for the new franchise? The training program should be comprehensive and cover marketing, advertisement, product updates, technology and sales etc.
- What help will be provided by the company for marketing?
- Whether the company allows the franchise to visit the cruise and see the facilities available? This will help you to explain the facilities to your customers. You can also meet the staff on the cruise and find out their behavior towards the customers.
Do as much research as you can, to know the factual position. This will be a hard job because the facts are very difficultly discovered. After completing your research on the above queries, you can analyze each offer and decide which company will be more beneficial for you. Consider how much investment would be needed. Also check for the legal requirements to start a cruise planner business in your area.
It must be kept in mind while deciding to enter into cruise planner business is that it is a very risky business. About 80% of the franchise fail and others spend years to get out of their debts due to the risk involved and high initial cost of the business. Your aptitude for the cruise planner business is therefore the essential requirement to start the business. The cruise liner helps its franchise in marketing through cooperative programs, advertisements and national media, but even then you will have to spend a lot for marketing the business. You will be fully responsible for your marketing campaigns.
You can also start a travel insurance business along with the cruise planning business to facilitate your customers to get their travel insurance from the same window.
Duties of a Cruise Planner:
A cruise Planner creates a link between the cruise and its customers. He provides full details of the packages offered by the cruise liner. He will also explain the facilities provided on board the cruise, the problems which may be faced by the customers, where to reach for embarkation. If the customer is far away from the port of departure, he can offer to make some arrangement with some additional cost.
You should make a profile, giving all the required facts and information of the customer for your record and you may request for comments on his/her return. You may provide some additional services to the repeated customers. Customers are quite impressed if you provide free services and detailed information about their voyage. You may provide free services for planning their vacation trip or going for a honeymoon etc. You must be honest in providing information and guiding your customers.
You should timely provide information regarding booking by the customers to the cruise for further action at their end.
How To Promote Cruise Planner Business:
Marketing is done by the company. However, you chalk out your own marketing strategy to attract customers to your office. You may consult other franchise offices for guidance in the matter. You may advertise in newspapers, distribute and display flyers and distribute your business cards to make the people aware of your business. You may also offer some discount or some special services to attract people.
Make use of the internet to promote your business. Create a blog or your own website. Send e-mails to different classes of people as an advertising tool.
What Guidance Should Be Provided To Customers:
A Cruise Planner should guide his customers in such a way that they do not face any problem or difficulty during their trip on the cruise. Some of the important things to be informed to the customers are listed below:
- What is included in the package and what is not.
- How to reach the port of departure and when? How can the cruise line or the cruise planner facilitate them if they are far away from the port.
- How to go on the board and what facilities are provided for the handicapped?
- What type of facilities are available on board? The customer can choose to enjoy any facility depending on his / her mood and interest.
- What problems the customer may face and what are their remedies?
- The customer should be equipped with valid travel documents depending upon his / her nationality and the ports to be visited.
- The reservation on the cruise should be made with the same name (with spelling) as it appears on the Passport.
- Provide some literature on the cruise for study of the customer.
How the Cruise Planner Should Deal with the Customers:
- If the customer visits his office, the cruise planner should welcome him /her warmly with a smiling face and shake hands.
- Express a warm smile on telephone.
- Show your undivided attention to the customer.
- Answer all of the customer questions whether serious or silly.
- While making a profile ask questions and write them down, instead of giving a printed pro forma.
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