Cruise Planners Franchise Owner Discovers the Perfect Recipe for Success

Jeff Page Cruise Planners Franchise Owner

Jeff Page joined the Cruise Planners franchise with a foundation rooted in the culinary arts. He spent his formative years in the kitchen, honing his skills and passion for exceptional service. Over the course of 15 years, he worked in prestigious five-star hotels, learning that true excellence lies in meticulous attention to detail. Aspiring to retire early, Jeff sought a business venture to keep him engaged while allowing him to travel more frequently. He desired the tools and experience that come with purchasing a franchise. But with semi-retirement in mind, he was determined to avoid a business that would completely tie him down. After exploring numerous franchise options, Jeff ultimately chose Cruise Planners. The franchise’s readily available support and tools necessary to build a successful business significantly influenced his decision. He was looking for an established franchisor that truly excited and inspired him, and Cruise Planners exceeded his expectations in every way. Initially, a lack of knowledge held Jeff back, as he was terrified of making mistakes. However, the training, support, proven systems, and culture of Cruise Planners reassured him that he had all he would need to succeed! Jeff shares his journey to Cruise Planners franchise ownership and the perfect recipe for business ownership, travel, and work-life balance.

Why did you purchase a franchise rather than start an independent business?

I aspired to retire early and sought a business venture to keep me engaged while allowing me to travel more frequently. Being new to the industry, I desired the tools and experience of purchasing a franchise. However, I was determined to avoid a business that would tie me down completely.

Were you focused on a specific industry or brand from the start?

No. I searched for a couple of years. Having been a chef for over 40 years, I knew I wanted a change. Part of the reason I became a chef in the first place was due to an unforgettable experience I had at 16. In 1977, I went on a cruise and was utterly impressed by the impeccable food and service. Who could forget those midnight buffets? That experience ignited my passion and steadfast dedication to the culinary arts.

Which of your prior skills and experiences are most helpful in operating your Cruise Planners franchise?

With a foundation rooted in the culinary arts, I spent my formative years in the kitchen, honing my skills and passion for exceptional service. Over the course of 15 years, I had the privilege of working in prestigious five-star hotels, where I learned that true excellence lies in meticulous attention to detail. This principle guided me through my subsequent 21-year tenure at Walt Disney World, an institution renowned for its unparalleled commitment to guest satisfaction. In addition to my extensive culinary background, I also dedicated many years to serving as a banquet chef. This role significantly sharpened my abilities in event planning and group organization, skills that are indispensable in delivering seamless, memorable experiences. Transitioning to a customer-focused career as a Cruise Planners Franchise owner has allowed me to leverage my comprehensive background in hospitality and meticulous service. My dedication to exceeding expectations remains steadfast, ensuring that every client’s journey is nothing short of extraordinary.

When researching franchises to buy, what criteria mattered to you most?

As mentioned, I explored numerous franchise options before joining the Cruise Planners franchise. The readily available support and tools necessary to build a successful business significantly influenced my decision. Additionally, I was looking for an established franchisor who truly excited and inspired me, and Cruise Planners exceeded my expectations in every way.

Did you use FBR’s website or download franchisee satisfaction reports?
Yes! I conducted extensive research and performed numerous web searches to gather as much information as possible.  

Did you speak with other Cruise Planners franchise owners? Which questions did you ask?

I had the opportunity to speak with several other Cruise Planners franchise owners. Here are some of the questions I asked them:

  1. How long have you owned your franchise?
  2. What do you love most about owning your franchise?
  3. Do you feel you receive adequate support from the home office?
  4. What would it be if you could change one thing about your franchise experience?
  5. Can you share any mistakes you made when starting out?
  6. What strategies did you use in the beginning to grow your business?

Which questions did you ask the franchisor?

  1. Profitability Timeline: How long does it typically take for a new franchise to become profitable and expand beyond an initial customer base of friends and family?
  2. Support Availability: What kind of support can I expect, and is it accessible whenever I need it?
  3. Training Programs: What training is included in the franchise package?
  4. Operational Systems: Can you provide an overview of the back-end system and daily operations?
  5. Initial Assistance: Will support be available to assist me with my first few bookings?
  6. Issue Resolution: How do I get help if something goes wrong?
  7. Management Accessibility: Is upper management approachable and available for assistance when needed?
  8. Sales and Earnings: What is the average sale, and what can I expect to earn from it?
  9. Commission Details: When and how will I receive my commission on sales?

What were your biggest challenges when you first started out, and how did you overcome them?

Fear! A lack of knowledge initially held me back. I was terrified of making mistakes. Working full-time only exacerbated the issue—I often missed important calls and struggled to conduct research during non-business hours. However, I soon learned that mistakes can be rectified. I gained confidence and accuracy by double-checking my work and requesting client confirmation within 24 hours. Setting reasonable expectations for timelines became another critical lesson. I discovered that sales call centers and business development managers (BDMs) are invaluable allies who are always ready to assist. My constant traveling and continuous training became assets rather than hindrances. By focusing on mastering the brands I was selling and addressing other inquiries as they came in, I managed to streamline my workflow. As I grew more experienced, I transitioned to using vendor websites for information rather than relying solely on phone consultations. Initially, I avoided this approach because I wanted the reassurance of human confirmation. However, I realized that these websites provide comprehensive resources, making my work more efficient.

My journey was marked by overcoming fears, continuous learning, and leveraging available resources to become more proficient in my role.

How does the Cruise Planners franchise support and encourage your success?

Simply put, they are the best part of my success. From the CEO down, the Cruise Planners Home Office team is there for one reason: to build tools and relationships with one goal: to make us Successful. I would be remiss if I did not mention that our technology is the best in the business. The coaches are there for any challenge that comes up. I would not be where I am today without the support and encouragement of the Cruise Planners Home Office team.

What are you most proud of as a Cruise Planners franchise owner, and why?

I know I’m not supposed to say this, but I didn’t have any specific goals other than to build a business that I could be proud of. Over time, I’ve developed a reputation as a well-respected and trusted travel advisor. This year, I’m set to surpass the million-dollar mark, exceeding even the unspoken goals I never officially set for myself.

What advice would you give to a potential Cruise Planners franchise owner?

Embrace the journey of making mistakes and learning from them. Read extensively, travel widely, and absorb knowledge from every experience. The travel industry is ever-changing, and to succeed, you must be a perpetual student of the field. Identify two or three activities you are passionate about and strive to become an expert in those areas first. Your business may evolve in unexpected directions as opportunities arise, so be prepared to adapt and grow accordingly.

For more information on the Cruise Planners franchise opportunity, visit, email [email protected], or call (888) 582-2150.