Sponsored by Cruise Planners
Cruise Planners Millionaire’s Club Members and mother-daughter duo Terry McKinney, 58, and Andrea Mickan, 34, tell their story of becoming successful work-from-home travel agents.
Want to jump into the travel industry, but don’t have experience? Cruise Planners is the place for you. Read on to learn more.
Terry McKinney worked in the legal industry for 25 years before deciding to take control of her career, stop working for someone else, and pursue her passion for travel. So, in 2011, with no previous travel experience, Terry started her own home-based travel agency franchise with Cruise Planners and never looked back.
As a Cruise Planners travel agent, Terry helps clients plan amazing travel experiences all over the world, from cruises to all-inclusive resort vacations to African safaris. Eventually, Terry found a niche in romance travel and saw her business flourish.
As her business continued to grow, she brought on her daughter, Andrea Mickan, to help with bridal trade shows. With her daughter on board, sales increased, and the duo has grown their sales to more than $1 million annually.*
Do travel agents still exist?
Yes! On average, planning a vacation can take up to 20 hours. Travel agents help take the stress out of vacation planning and allow more time to actually enjoy your trip.
“As a travel advisor, we provide customized service and deliver a personal experience that can’t be found by just clicking a button on a website,” Terry said.
Plus, because of powerful connections and partnerships, travel advisors have access to exclusive rates and itineraries, allowing them to provide tremendous value to their clients.
With Cruise Planners’ extensive list of partnerships, selecting the perfect getaway for travelers is easy, manageable, and all-around beneficial for the client.
Travel advisors continue to thrive because of the service and value they offer.
Why would I start a travel agency now?
Although we’ve had to put some trips on hold, it doesn’t mean you have to postpone your goals and aspirations of business ownership and financial freedom.
The travel industry is incredibly resilient, and there is a huge pent up demand for travel. Let’s face it, we could all use a vacation!
Bookings are already up for 2021, including cruise bookings, proving demand is high. Travel advisors will play a key part in fulfilling this demand and bringing back all of the joy travel provides.
As the world opens back up, travelers will seek guidance and expert advice on safe destinations and activities. Travel agents will be crucial in helping travelers plan safe, fun, and remarkable experiences.
Although Cruise Planners makes it as simple as possible, getting a new business up and running doesn’t happen overnight. Now is a great time to start establishing the foundation of your business so you can capitalize on the surge in travel that is to come.
Will I just sell cruises?
No! Cruise Planners travel agents are full-service advisors. In addition to cruises, they book all-inclusive resort packages, customized land trips, escorted tours, airfare, hotels, rental cars, and more. In fact, collectively, Cruise Planners travel advisors are the number one seller of Sandals Resorts vacations globally.
Cruise Planners advisors provide customized advice on tourism destinations and put in a lot of effort to personalize a travel experience that fits all their clients’ needs.
Terry prioritizes getting to know her clients by sitting and talking to them one-on-one to match the correct products with their desires.
“Our clients provide us with their input, and we provide the solution to make their vacation dreams come true,” Terry said.
What is it like being a travel agent from home?
Before Andrea Mickan joined her mother’s growing franchise business, she worked a 9-to-5 job in corporate America.
“Having the flexibility to set my own hours, work with my mom, and travel the world together or with our clients is life changing,” she said.
As a travel agency franchise owner, you will be your own boss and have the freedom to decide when and how you work your business. With Cruise Planners’ marketing and technology platforms and automated tools, you can work remotely from anywhere you have internet access, on any device, whenever you want.
“The beauty of this lifestyle is that you can work from home, and you can set your own hours. If you don’t want to be open on the weekends, don’t,” Andrea said. “If you don’t feel like going to work one day, that’s your choice. You have your own business; you have your own hours. Your success is what you make it.”
Do I actually get to travel as a travel agent?
Definitely! Traveling is one of the biggest perks of being a travel agent; in fact, it’s encouraged. By experiencing destinations firsthand, travel advisors are better able to sell these destinations to their clients. Often, travel advisors get steep discounts to travel so they can experience as much as possible. Plus, Cruise Planners designs all its tools to be used while traveling, so your business can go wherever you are.
“We might be in Mexico one week, in London at the end of the month, and back in Mexico after that,” Andrea said. “We can take our business anywhere.”
With laughter, Terry adds, “We will be working by the pool with our sombreros. It’s all part of living the dream.”
How do travel agents make money?
This is a commission-based job, and with Cruise Planners, you’ll earn the highest commission in the industry. Travel agents earn commissions from the travel suppliers, including cruise lines, tour operators, and travel consolidators, so your clients won’t have to pay any more to use your services.
Cruise Planners is a low-cost franchise opportunity that provides you the flexibility to start your travel agency business as a side hustle or go straight into working it part-time or full-time. You’ll grow your business at your own pace.
I’m not a salesperson; can I really be a travel advisor?
While sales is a big part of being a travel advisor, having a passion for travel is even more important. As a home-based travel agent, you have the opportunity to travel the world, a flexible schedule, access to travel agent discounts, and the ability to do what you love.
As the famous quote goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
When you become a travel agent with Cruise Planners, the opportunity to provide a service to clients doesn’t feel like work. Using your passion for travel and helping others see the world isn’t a job; it’s changing your clients’ lives by providing them a once-in-a-lifetime experience they can’t get elsewhere.
“When coming into this business, I didn’t want to be a salesperson,” said Andrea. “To me, this is about building relationships, connecting one-on-one with somebody, and just having a conversation. Having that knowledge through all the different resources that we have is wonderful. It’s not selling. It’s providing a solution, an opportunity.”
What support would I have as a travel agency franchise owner?
Cruise Planners has a saying that you are in business for yourself but never by yourself. Cruise Planners provides its travel advisors the tools and training to grow a successful business. Most Cruise Planners travel advisors have no prior travel experience.
All new franchise owners will receive comprehensive training at the six-day STAR University. You will also have a business development coach who provides a tailored plan and ongoing support to help you grow your business. Cruise Planners also provides award-winning marketing programs and industry-leading technology to help you get your name out there and drive more sales.
“All of the tools that Cruise Planners provides are absolutely amazing, because not only do we have a plethora of sales tools, we have a business coach,” Terry said. “I’m not real technology savvy, but that hasn’t held me back a bit, because we have a coach. I get on the phone and call him, and he walks me right through it. Ten minutes later, I am cooking!”
Cruise Planners truly cares about its agents’ success and is always taking the initiative to improve training, technology, and sales strategies. All agents know they can seek guidance from the Home Office Team when they hit a bump in the road.
To learn more about becoming a Cruise Planners travel advisor and if it is the right fit for you, download The Guide Cruise Planners.
*Your individual results may vary. Results depend on your individual efforts, level of experience in the travel industry, etc.
Originally published on October 23, 2018. Content updated in October 2020.
This is a sponsored post. Please be aware we only promote advertising from companies that we feel we can legitimately recommend to our readers. Please see our disclosure policy for further information.