How travel franchises are skyrocketing due to the cruise boom

The growth of cruising represents a valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs to become experts selling the lucrative travel product

How travel franchises are skyrocketing due to the cruise boom

The growth of cruising represents a valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs to become experts selling the lucrative travel product with some homeworking travel agents earning a six-figure salary. And you don’t need previous travel experience if you invest in the right franchise.

Why is cruise a booming market? 

2023 has been an incredible year for cruising with the launch of over 19 ships and, with a further 15 set to sail next year, the trend shows no sign of abating. The lineup of new ships means cruise lines will have the capacity to carry over 31.7 million passengers by 2027,  according to a Cruise Industry News report which represents a huge opportunity for savvy travel agents who tap into this market. The huge range of cruise ships means it appeals to a wide variety of holidaymakers.

While some cruises are specifically aimed at families, offering activities and entertainment tailored towards children and teenagers, there are also adult-only cruises plus special-interest cruises with a focus on everything from food to music and gardening to history. While ocean cruising remains the most popular type of cruise, river cruising is a huge growth area and is ideal for those who want to dock in smaller ports and see numerous destinations on one trip. 

Meanwhile, expedition cruising to far flung places like the Amazon and Antarctica continues to be a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list trip for many holidaymakers.

Why is cruise a lucrative product to sell?

Cruising offers some of the best profit margins in travel with many cruise lines giving agents 12-18 per cent commission. Switched-on agents can then add on flights, tours, hotel stays and insurance to make a substantial profit. And there’s no shortage of customers because cruising is a complicated product to book online. 

First holidaymakers need to choose a cruise brand, then pick a suitable itinerary and take their pick from a multitude of confusing cabin choices and excursions. A cruise expert can easily navigate their way round all the complexities involved and by doing so gain valuable repeat clients and referrals. 

Cruise clients often become so hooked on the experience and are so enamoured by a particular brand that they often book another cruise while at sea. If they do book onboard, the commission for the next cruise is automatically directed to the agent who made the current booking meaning the agent gains commission without any work! 

How to become a travel consultant

Anyone can set up an independent travel agency, but investing in a travel franchise should ultimately be cheaper and provide more support resulting in a greater chance of success and rapid growth. Research by the British Franchise Association (BFA) shows that over 90 per cent of franchises are profitable within the first two years of business with 50 per cent turning over more than £250,000 annually and proving resilient even in times of recession due to investment by the parent company. 

If you have worked in the travel industry before you will have a wide choice of travel franchises, but if you’ve never worked in travel before, look for one that specialises in training people new to travel. It’s often quicker than people imagine with some franchises offering virtual training in just five days enabling you to start planning and booking holidays as soon as you finish!

How to specialise in cruise

Before you invest in a travel franchise, do your research. Analyse the top travel franchises in the UK and don’t just look at price. Pinpoint which ones have won awards and whether they’ve been in the media. 

What is their investment and growth in cruise bookings? Do they have a programme where you can become an expert or master of cruise? Do they have a cruise division with cruise experts at the helm? Do they have personal business development managers that specialise in cruise and can help advise you? Do they offer free cruises so that you can experience the cruise for yourself? What are their relationships with key cruise lines such as NCL, Virgin Voyages, P&O cruises, MSC and other big brands and do they offer competitive or exclusive deals for you to sell? 

Finally, are franchisees making a profit? Find out which consultants are making big cruise sales, get in touch with them and ask their opinion of the franchise company, its training and support.

‘This article comes courtesy of The Travel Franchise – the UK’s no.1 travel franchise, the 10th best UK franchise, the no.1 cruise travel company, the UK’s no.1 travel franchise for people new to travel, and the only franchise in the UK’s top 10 which gives their franchise fee back based on performance.’  

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