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Cruises Planners’ best year ever was 2019. In 2022, as travel surged back after the COVID shutdowns and protocols, it just missed surpassing its 2019 performance by a mere two points.
Overall, in 2022 Cruise Planners reached 98 percent of its 2019 performance, which is quite impressive for a year of recovery and resurgence for the travel industry.
Some segments did particularly well. Luxury travel rose 28 percent in 2022 over 2019 for the best year ever for Cruise Planners, said Scott Koepf, senior vice president-strategic development. “That includes a record-setting pace on World Cruises – Cruise Planners advisors sold $10 million worth of the global voyages, an 89 percent increase over 2019.”
River cruise sales rose 21 percent in 2022 over 2019, another banner performance.
Land travel rose 18 percent 2022 over 2019. “Even though our name is Cruise Planners, we sell more Sandals than anyone else in the world,” Koepf said.
As for overall cruise, it reached 94 percent of the business booked in 2019 due to hiccups, including a slow sales start to the year, burdensome COVID protocols, and the fact that 30 percent of the country was unvaccinated.
“We’re very, very pleased with that,” Koepf said. “We think that’s a pretty extraordinary number.”
Cruise Planners offered the business update to media as it prepared to begin its annual convention in Miami at the Intercontinental Hotel Nov. 11-14, followed by a sailing onboard the new Celebrity Beyond Nov. 14-17.
During the update, Cruise Planners Founder and CEO Michelle Fee noted that Cruise Planners broke the record for the largest commission check ever written – no less than three times in 2022.
“I signed the largest commission check ever in the history of Cruise Planners on July 15, then we broke the record on Aug. 1, and then we broke the record again on Sept. 1,” Fee said. “We broke the record three times, which was awesome.”
And 2023 is looking very promising as well with deposited bookings. “We’re currently 26 percent ahead of where we were heading into 2020 before the pandemic,” Fee said. “We’re praying there are no more visits from the Wicked Witch [as she dubbed COVID] and this should be one amazing year.”
Chief Sales Officer Theresa Scalzitti agreed: “Next year, 2023, is definitely going to be a record year, knock on wood.”
In the update, Cruise Planners also described new features and programs available to its agents in the new year. Here is a brief description of some of them.
LivePlanner is a live vacation planning and presenting tool that lets advisors have a real-time, live consultation session with their clients. Unlike Zoom or other screen-sharing tools, LivePlanner gives full control to the advisor to push the content to their client’s screens to show them only what they want to show them. For example, if they are discussing a cruise, the advisor can push the itinerary details to them, dining options, entertainment, videos, pricing and more all with the click of a button. LivePlanner also keeps a session summary in case the client wants to review the details discussed on demand or share with loved ones.
Trip Summary 2.0 is a major enhancement to the current itinerary builder tool that has the ability to add images and day-by-day itinerary details, and is completely integrated within CP Maxx.
By combining LivePlanner and Trip Summary, advisors can build a day-by-day sample itinerary for their clients and then use LivePlanner to review the itinerary with them and easily provide content and details to help the client visualize the experience proposed.
Amenity Tracker is a tool within CP Maxx that will allow advisors to keep track of all of those perks, amenities and gifts that their clients receive for booking with them. It will allow advisors to easily record onboard credits, beverage packages, prepaid gratuities, resort credits and more. Advisors can also run reporting to see what amenities still need to be applied to their client’s upcoming vacations.
The Find a Hotel tool powered by Navitrip gives advisors access to over 100,000 hotels and resorts around the world. Advisors will be able to adjust their commission and savings for their clients by using a toggle bar. It will also have a user-friendly interface to easily see the client savings percentage, their commission amount, hotel details and many filtering capabilities all within CP Maxx.