Tim Courtney, CFE, is the vice president of franchise development for CruiseOne. Tim joined CruiseOne in 2006 in a Training and Education role, helping launch the company's online learning academy. In 2008, he moved on to the CruiseOne’s Franchise Development Team where he quickly immersed himself into the company’s recruitment efforts, which have produced record results.
Involved with the International Franchise Association (IFA) since 2009, he has held leadership roles on various committees, including Franchise Congress, IFA Membership Committee, VetFran and DiversityFran. Tim earned the Certified Franchise Executive designation in 2011.
In this interview, he tells us why CruiseOne is an attractive franchise to entrepreneurs of all ages, and why a certain industry affiliation allows it to lead the travel franchise pack.
Tell us about the background of CruiseOne.
In operation since 1992, the home-based travel franchise CruiseOne is ranked in the top 3% of all franchises worldwide and is a member of the IFA. As part of World Travel Holdings, the world’s largest cruise agency and award-winning leisure travel company, CruiseOne franchisees are able to offer their customers the lowest possible pricing on vacations with its 100% “Best Price and Satisfaction Guarantee.” CruiseOne has received partner of the year, a top-ranking status, by all the major cruise lines including Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines.
What makes CruiseOne stand out amongst its competitors?CruiseOne’s affiliation with World Travel Holdings makes it stand out from its competitors. World Travel Holdings is the world’s largest cruise agency, which means it has incredible buying power with every major cruise line resulting in exclusive offers for franchise owners that benefit their customers. CruiseOne also leverages this power with respect to resources that are available and impact business operations.
How would you describe the travel franchise market right now?
The franchise market is hot right now and is attracting entrepreneurs of all ages. The CruiseOne franchise system is growing by approximately 10% each year.
The strong economy makes franchising an attractive option for baby boomers who are easing into retirement but are not quite ready to completely retire yet. Also, each year we are seeing more and more millennials join our system. In fact, the number of millennials who own a cruise franchise has increased by nearly 20% in the last four years.
Describe a person who would fit in well with the CruiseOne franchise system.
CruiseOne franchise owners should be passionate about travel, have an entrepreneurial spirit and be a people-person who likes to help others.
The beauty of joining a franchise system is you do not need prior industry experience. At CruiseOne, we have an extensive training program that provides ongoing educational classes that are designed for franchise owners who are both new and seasoned.
Military veterans also make strong CruiseOne franchise owners because many of the skills they learn in the military translate well into franchise ownership. In fact, military veterans or active-duty spouses make up approximately 30% of our network. We have special entry pricing for military veterans, and incentives for franchise owners who hire veterans or military spouses as associates. The support continues with special marketing programs that are targeted for military veterans.
What kind of support should an incoming franchisee expect from CruiseOne during the start-up period?
CruiseOne prides itself on the support we offer new franchisees. New franchisees are assigned a Business Development Specialist who walks them through the start-up process, and then as soon as the contract is signed, franchisees attend a weeklong training that is held monthly at our Fort Lauderdale world headquarters.
For those franchisees who want to get started before they attend orientation, we created the Franchise Accelerated Success Training program, known as FAST TRACK, which covers items that can be accomplished before official training and which will be expanded upon during the week-long training, such as marketing, public relations, social media and other business start-up functions. FAST TRACK continues for 180-days after training ends and includes one-on-one coaching as well as 50 free and low-cost ways to kick-start your business.
At the weeklong initial training, franchisees meet with cruise line executives, learn about the technology and tools they will be using to run their business, get educated on the travel industry, tour a cruise ship, learn hard and soft sales skills, and much more.
What is a common mistake you see from first-time franchisees?
Many times new franchisees expect to see results overnight. Owning a business is a marathon, not a sprint.
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to an incoming franchisee?
Before signing your contract, make sure you discuss this new business opportunity with your family and make sure you have their support. It is also very important that you carefully review the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), particularly Item 19, and not be afraid to ask questions. If [information from] Item 19 is not included, ask “Why not?” Owning a franchise is a large investment and big commitment and the decision should not be rushed.
What is next for CruiseOne?
We continue to make new investments each year in marketing and technology that benefit our franchise owners so they can conduct their business more efficiently and also better serve their customers.
Thank you to Tim and the CruiseOne team for their time in conducting this interview! For more on CruiseOne, see their franchise profile. You can also check out this interview Tim did with us at the 2014 IFA Convention.