The Benefits of Franchising: How to Take Your Travel Business to the Next Level

October 24, 2019

As a travel advisor, clients turn to you to take their vacations to the next level. But where do you turn when you’re looking to take your business to the next level? Host agencies may provide a minimal level of support, but a travel agency franchise company like Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, provides a complete package of cutting-edge technology, award-winning marketing, industry-leading business development coaching and a 25-year legacy of implementing proven systems to help travel advisors grow their businesses.

The Importance of Proven Systems and Brand Recognition

One of the biggest benefits of starting your own travel agency with a franchise like Cruise Planners is that you are buying into an established brand with a history of success. As an affiliate of American Express Travel, you can also leverage the power and trust that comes with one of the world’s most recognizable brands.

“With a franchise, you have a proven model of success to help your business grow, reducing the risk of failure compared to a traditional new business,” Cruise Planners CEO Michelle Fee says.

Cruise Planners has spent more than 25 years refining its systems and tools to ensure its travel advisors are successful. This long history provides tremendous brand recognition and trust, which are critical to growing your business. Because you don’t have to build a brand yourself, you are able to get to market quicker and spend more time focused on selling.

Comparing Costs: Consider Overall Earning Potential

Initial costs are certainly important when considering any travel business opportunity, but it is perhaps more important to evaluate your overall earning potential.

For experienced travel advisors with existing books of business, the initial fee for a franchise can be greatly reduced and is comparable to that of a host agency. Plus, the built-in benefits included in the franchise fee are immense.

As Fee notes, “with a franchise you have access to marketing programs, technology tools and ongoing support and training, all included within the franchise fee.” This allows you to spend less time worrying about administrative tasks and more time focusing on selling travel and supporting your customers. And ultimately, this can lead to more profits. “Establishing each one of these pillars on your own would be incredibly time consuming and very costly,” Fee says.

Understanding Commissions

In addition to upfront costs, it is also important to consider commissions. Each host or franchise will have a different commission structure, and it may vary depending on the type of travel sold. While it can be tempting to look at the commission split only on face value, like the initial cost, you should also consider how the commission split will impact your earning potential in the long run.

Cruise Planners franchise owner Rodney George started with a host agency before coming to Cruise Planners, and he recalls how the perceived cost savings of a host ultimately weren’t worth it.

“I came from a host, and I gave up a percentage of my income to come to Cruise Planners,” George says, “but my income is five times greater now than it was four years ago, just because I don’t have to go out and re-invent all the stuff that just happens automatically with Cruise Planners. The marketing, the technology, the support – all that stuff is just done.”

That’s one of the biggest benefits of a franchise according to Fee.

“At Cruise Planners, we do all the heavy lifting, so our travel advisors can have more time to sell,” she says. “And when our advisors have more time to sell, they can earn more profits for their business.”

Take Your Travel Business to the Next Level

There are lots of great host agencies, but for travel advisors looking to take their business to the next level, a franchise like Cruise Planners provides the support, programs and proven systems needed to achieve sustained growth.

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, is the nation’s largest travel franchise with over 2,500 franchise owners in all 50 states who sell all types of travel including cruises, guided land tours, all-inclusive resort vacations and more. For more information about how you can grow your travel advisor business with Cruise Planners, visit