Married Couple Finds Success Selling Cruises
As a Port Captain for New York Cruise Lines, every week Mike Duffy would watch the cruise ships depart and hear the music from the sail away parties held onboard. He would come home every night and talk about how fun cruising seemed – and that’s why Mike and his wife Deb started cruising. When the floral company that his wife Deb worked for closed, they decided to follow their passion and open a Cruises Inc. travel agency. As residents of Palisades Park, N.J., Deb and Mike discovered that living near a cruise terminal is not only convenient for vacations, but also to sell cruises from home.
The Duffys joined Cruises Inc. in March 2013 and found that the camaraderie and family atmosphere made it very easy to become engaged with the Cruises Inc. community. They jumped at the opportunity to attend the company’s National Conference and as new travel agents, it was an incredible way to jump feet first into the business and truly immerse themselves in learning by hearing updates from cruise line executives during General Sessions, participating in workshops on topics that that they want to learn more about, interacting with VIPs from cruise lines and land suppliers, and so much more. Deb and Mike thought the best part of their first conference was sailing on a brand-new ship, meeting the headquarters team and making friends with their fellow Cruises Inc. agents.
Even though they work from home, the Duffys stay connected with their Cruises Inc. friends through the virtual events that the Vice President and Director of Sales host. These include Zoom meetings, cocktail parties, yoga and more. Other members of the headquarters team provide unlimited assistance through training, marketing, tech support and even a personalized website. All of these elements are important in building a business as a work-at-home travel agent.
To be successful, it is important to enjoy helping people and talking about vacations, as well as a willingness to learn about vacations and destinations. Deb believes anyone can be a good travel agent if you have strong product knowledge, sharp listening skills to determine what the client really wants, and the desire to help people plan a fun and memorable vacation.
Depending on where you live, you may want to focus on cruises that are close to you and which would appeal to your client base. Plus, now more than ever people will be more interested in driving to a cruise, than flying. The Duffys live 20 minutes from Manhattan Cruise Terminal and 40 minutes from Cape Liberty/Bayonne Cruise Terminal, so when they started selling cruises from home, they focused on becoming experts on cruises from those ports by completing extensive training.
Deb and Mike’s bucket list vacations include an Alaska cruise, river cruise in Europe and a river cruise in the U.S. on the American Queen.