Cruise Planners: Omicron is down, sales are up

Cruise Planners (Logo)As news of omicron begins to subside, travelers are getting their bearings and ready to set sail and explore once again.

Cruise Planners has reported two consecutive weeks of positive sales purchases, inching closer to a delayed wave season as consumer sentiment appears to be improving and people are starting to accept the reality of living with the virus.

Europe and Alaska cruises continues to be a popular destination with 24% of all purchase destinations from the last few weeks coming from those numbers. This makes sense, since there was so much pent-up demand to travel from the last two years.

The demand for luxury travel has been a consistent bestseller and world cruises seem to be the hot ticket these days. Luxury bookings have remained at elevated levels throughout the pandemic, and our January sales soared with a 24% higher volume than average.

“People are ready to travel, and they don’t want to wait,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and Founder of Cruise Planners. “The protocols are in place, and the cruising industry has been exemplary in the way they have handled the ongoing pandemic and I think our clients have peace of mind knowing that cruise lines are upholding the highest standards of safety to handle any situation that may arise.”

2022 purchases compared to 2019 for the second half of the year are still strong. So far, 1 in 4 bookings were for cruise departures in 2023, and overall, the second half of 2022 is outpacing departures for 2019 by 37%.

In addition, despite the difficult ebb and flow of the pandemic cancellations, Cruise Planners’ top producing agent Michael Consoli significantly outpacing his 2019 numbers. Consoli is based in Roswell, Ga. and operates with a very small team, making this feat phenomenal especially during a pandemic.

“When people ask me what the secret sauce is, it’s this: We put a big emphasis on fitting the right product to the guest. We’re not just selling to sell. It takes a lot of organization and attention to detail to make sure we don’t drop the ball.”

During the pandemic Michael and his team worked long hours on cancelled trips, re-bookings and although demanding, he felt that in this challenging time, he wanted to be sure that his clients knew he was there for them, no matter what.

Consoli also resumed traveling—to the tune of two European river cruises, three ocean cruises and Antarctica.

Fee says Cruise Planners has encouraged all agents to “post away” and show clients it’s safe to return to cruising and to talk to their clients to help ease their worries and troubleshoot any issues that may come up. Fee herself has been on 5 cruises and has traveled several times during the pandemic.

“Since the restart of cruising last year, over 6 million passengers have safely sailed and enjoyed great vacations,” said Fee. “We’re learning to navigate this new normal and from the numbers, I’m confident demand will outpace supply, so you want to make sure clients are thinking about booking now.”

Company Background: Cruise Planners, an award-winning American Express Travel Representative, is the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise network. Cruise Planners positions a nation-wide network of 2,500 franchise owners for success by providing innovative marketing programs, proprietary and cutting-edge booking and technology tools, as well as professional development and hands-on training with the industry’s top executives.

The company continues to be an industry leader and was named the No.1 travel franchise by Entrepreneur magazine for 18 consecutive years and awarded by Franchise Business Review as “Best-In-Category” for 2 years. FBR also ranked Cruise Planners #3 OVERALL on their list of Top 200 Franchises of 2022. Cruise Planners was recently featured in Entrepreneur as one of the top 30 franchise innovators in technology, has been consistently named as one of the Top Women-Owned Businesses by the South Florida Business Journal, is on the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America, and was recognized as one of the Top Workplaces by the Sun Sentinel.

(Cruise Planners)