Cruise Planners, the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise, today announced the promotion of three of its management team to Executive Vice President of Technology and Operations, Vice President of Franchise Development and Senior Director of Training and Strategic Partnerships.
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – June 26, 2014 – Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, the nation's largest home-based travel agent franchise network in the travel industry, today announced the promotion of three award-winning team members to executive positions – Brian Shultz, Dan Hicks and Cathy Kusuma.
The promotions underline Cruise Planners' commitment to professional development and the internal growth and cultivation of staff in its South Florida home office and its nationwide network of travel advisors.
“We believe in surrounding ourselves with dedicated, hard-working team players who exemplify our corporate culture,” said Vicky Garcia COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel representative. “As Cruise Planners continues to evolve, these travel industry powerhouses are assets to our company and we are proud to have a stellar team of professionals who contribute to the overall success of our operations and truly have a positive ‘Cruisitude™.'”
Brian Shultz was promoted to Executive Vice President, Technology and Operations after four and a half years with the company. In his new role, Shultz will be taking on an even greater leadership role within the executive team leveraging his pragmatic, strategic and forward-thinking leadership skills. Shultz, who closely monitors the travel industry and the company, is expected to improve efficiencies and find opportunities for operational enhancements and savings. In 2012, he was named Top Professional Rising Star by Agent @ Home magazine.
On the franchise side, Dan Hicks has been promoted to Vice President of Franchise Development. Under Hicks' leadership in Franchise Development, Cruise Planners has reached record number of franchisees joining the growing company, which has been ranked on Entrepreneur magazine's top franchises to own list for 11 consecutive years. Hicks will continue to lead the franchise sales team and focuses on lead generation, process improvement and fiscal management.
Cathy Kusuma has been promoted to Senior Director of Training and Strategic Partnerships where she will continue to manage the new franchisee training class held six times a year, boot camps and regional meetings. Kusuma will also overseeing the continual development of Cruise Planners University, and work to secure value-add and training partnerships for Cruise Planners agents.
Kusuma, who was the recipient of the 2013 Rising Star Award by Vacation Agent Magazine, will now spearhead the company's annual Convention – the largest training and development event of the year.
The promotions mark significant milestones for Cruise Planners, as the company continues to expand and grow internally.
About Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative
Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, is the nation's largest home-based travel agent franchise network in the travel industry. Cruise Planners operates a franchise network of more than 900 experienced travel professionals who independently book amazing vacation and travel experiences for their clients. The Florida-based Home Office team positions franchise owners for success by providing them with innovative marketing, booking and lead-generating tools as well as professional development and hands-on training with the industry's top executives. The company continues to be lauded and was named No.1 Cruise Tour / Travel Agency by Entrepreneur for 11 consecutive years and was recently featured in Entrepreneur as one of the top 30 franchise innovators in technology.
Headquartered in Coral Springs, Fla. for 20 years, Cruise Planners has achieved top producer status with every major cruise line. Accolades include a record 11 Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly in 2013, Special Needs Group Accessible Travel Advocate Power Partners™ for 2012, American Express Travel Representative Excellence Award for eight years in a row (2004 – 2011), American Express Agency of the Year (2010), Royal Caribbean International Home-Based Partner of the Year (2007 – 2013), Royal Caribbean International President's Award for Overall Achievement for 2012, Norwegian Cruise Line Franchise Agency of the Year (2011-2013) and Home-Based Agency of the Year (2010), Celebrity Cruises Home-Based Account of the Year (2013) and Southeast Region Travel Agent Partner of the Year (2010), American Express Vacations Globe Award (2008 – 2012), Globus Family of Brands Premier Agency Partner (2009- 2012), Platinum Circle Member with Viking River Cruises (2009-2012) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises Top Producer. Cruise Planners is one of the Top 50 franchises for Veterans according to GI magazine, has been named one of the Top 25 franchises for African-Americans by Black Enterprise magazine and is a member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. For information, visit www.cruiseplanners.com .
Stay in Touch: Media can stay up-to-date with Cruise Planners by visiting our media room , following us on Twitter @Cruisitude or on Facebook . For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should locate a travel advisor near them . For those interested in becoming a franchise owner, please visit our franchise site .
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Director of Public Relations, Cruise Planners-American Express Travel