At Cruise Planners, we love to highlight the stories of our thriving franchisees. Nick Pena, the owner of a Cruise Planners franchise in Florida, has a remarkable journey to share. We spoke with Nick about his life as a travel advisor with our brand and his experiences, challenges, and accomplishments, shedding light on the path to becoming a success.
Getting Started: A Google Search That Changed Everything
Nine years ago, Nick began with a simple Google search for “low-cost franchises.” He recalled, "I Googled 'How to become a travel advisor,' and that's how I learned about the host agency model. I purchased a Cruise Planners franchise and never looked back!" This decision marked the beginning of a transformative career in the travel industry.
Building a Travel Business: Slow Developments to Steady and Fast Growth
Nick's initial days in the business were characterized by a desire to cater to everyone's needs. However, the growth was gradual until he made a pivotal shift in his approach. He adjusted his marketing strategies, mindset, and social media presence to position himself as a luxury agent. As Nick puts it, "This is when the growth went from steady but slow to steady and fast!" This transformation underscores the importance of finding a niche and focusing on it.
The Key to Success: Authenticity and Relationship-Building
Nick's authenticity shines through in his relationships with clients and travel suppliers. He emphasizes, "Being my authentic self both with the suppliers and my customers... My clients love me, the suppliers know me and want to work with me." In the travel business, building strong relationships is invaluable. Nick's connections have allowed him to secure group spaces, request exceptions for clients, and even make reservations at fully booked hotel restaurants.
Challenges and Triumphs: Scaling a Low-Cost Franchise Opportunity
Nick's journey as a Cruise Planners franchise owner has not been without its challenges. Beyond navigating the impacts of COVID-19, his biggest hurdle has been scaling the business. What began as a part-time venture has now grown into a multi-million-dollar enterprise. While scaling presents challenges, Nick views them as positive ones. He says, "This is a good challenge to have, but nonetheless a challenge for sure."
Accomplishments That Shine Bright
One of Nick’s standout moments is serving on the advisory board for Global Marketplace Travel alongside some of the industry's best agents. He also proudly belongs to the exclusive "Millionaires Club" at Cruise Planners, an elite recognition that brings numerous perks and awards.
However, perhaps the most rewarding accomplishment for Nick is his ability to give back to the community. A portion of every dollar his agency earns goes toward local community initiatives, including backpack drives and Thanksgiving turkey giveaways. Nick reflects, "Serving others in any capacity is always a blessing."
Helpful Information for Aspiring Travel Advisors
Nick shares valuable advice for newcomers to the industry:
- Believe in Yourself: Confidence is key. Nick's number one tip is to believe in yourself and have full confidence in your ability to succeed.
- Set Goals: Having clear goals is crucial. Nick emphasizes the importance of having quarterly and annual goals, as they provide direction and motivation.
- Leverage Social Media: Nick's growth was significantly influenced by his presence on social media. He encourages others to share their authentic travel stories and experiences. He emphasizes, "Consistency, determination, and the conviction that you can and will do it is key!"
Nick Pena's successful travel agency franchise is a testament to his hard work and diligence. His story demonstrates the importance of authenticity, building strong relationships, and setting clear goals.
If you would like to follow in Nick’s footsteps and build your own business in this exciting industry, reach out today for more information on this great opportunity!