Cruise Planners Franchise Owners Inspire Travel and Spark Sales Via YouTube Channel

Hoffman Happy Travels Cruise Planners Franchise Owners 2024If you’ve ever wanted to see what happens in the early morning hours on a mega-ship, swim in a Mayan cave, or experience Disney’s Castaway Cay, Cruise Planners travel franchise owners Matt and Chelsy Hoffman provide a glimpse via their popular YouTube channel, Hoffman Happy Travels. In this article, we’ll learn about the Hoffmans’ formula for success as Cruise Planners franchise owners and see how they use social media to promote their business and lifestyle.

The couple began their thrilling adventure in 2016 when they invested in a Cruise Planners travel franchise. “How we got into the business was just wanting to spend more time together,” Matt said. “We were looking for opportunities to work from home, work for ourselves, and work together. So, we started researching and stumbled on Cruise Planners. It sounded like a great fit because we both love to travel.”

Cruise Planners is a home-based travel business that offers cruises, guided land tours, and all-inclusive resort vacations to customers throughout the United States. Its nationwide network of more than 2,500 travel agents enjoy open territories and can sell travel to anyone in the United States. The 2024 State of the Cruise Industry Report forecasts cruise capacity growing 10% from 2024 through 2028, putting franchise owners like the Hoffmans in a favorable position.

Today, the couple has amassed a large following of over 25,000 YouTube subscribers who eagerly join them on cruise voyages and all-inclusive vacations. From sharing food and stateroom reviews to guiding viewers through the cruise boarding process, the Hoffmans bring the world of cruising and vacation planning to life in a playful and engaging way. Their thriving Cruise Planners franchise business and the YouTube channel they use to promote its perks have paid them well and continue growing.

From Part-time Cruiser Planners Franchise Owners to Full-time Entrepreneurs

When they first signed onto Cruise Planners, the high school sweethearts didn’t jump into vacation planning full-time. Chelsy worked as an elementary school teacher, and Matt, who has a degree in hospitality management, had started a career at Walt Disney World. After they decided to leave their day jobs, they juggled odd jobs and taught online English classes to Chinese students as they built their travel business.

“We were fortunate that it was a smooth transition from doing all of the different jobs to focusing on the travel agency and the social media we paired with that,” Chelsy said.

Just a few years into their business, the pandemic temporarily shuttered cruise ships and vacation travel, but the Hoffmans embraced a long-term vision for their business. Once people could begin traveling again, business “blew up,” Matt said.

“We’re okay with the slow grind, and we saw the goal in the end,” he said. “Luckily, we’ve hit it, and we are very happy about that.”

Matt credits his training at Disney with teaching him how to manage multiple priorities and go above and beyond for guests—assets that serve him well as a Cruise Planners agent. The couple today sells Disney cruises, in addition to Royal Caribbean and Virgin Voyages, as they noticed their videos mostly attract viewers with questions on cruise travel.

“With cruises, we had become super-knowledgeable, so it just made sense to niche into cruises,” Chelsy said.

Although Cruise Planners allows agents to sell more than cruises, Sandals® and Beaches® all-inclusive vacations are the only land-based travel the couple sells. Sandals owns 18 resorts throughout the Caribbean islands and caters to couples, while the Beaches brand includes three resorts that cater to families.

“The portfolio of vacations we sell are all products we can stand by. We’ve experienced them ourselves, and they’ve been positive experiences,” Matt said.

Why Launch a Cruise Planners Franchise?

The Hoffmans easily achieved success and mapped out their future business thanks to Cruise Planners’ robust reporting system, which showed them the types of vendors and vacations, earning them the highest commissions. They could also examine vacation trends and understand when customers were booking and their travel preferences.

Matt said that being part of the Cruise Planners family comes with a host of benefits. The company provides all franchise owners with a comprehensive back-end travel booking system, websites, and robust digital and print marketing programs. Cruise Planners’ proprietary technology systems keep agents updated on travel news and facilitate communication between agents, vendors, and clients. Throughout their journey with Cruise Planners, agents are guided by a dedicated coach who helps them meet and exceed their income goals. Franchise owners are also free to market their businesses nationwide without any territory restrictions, providing ample opportunities to attract and serve clients.

“It’s overwhelming. I can’t imagine trying to register as an independent business and then reaching out to all of these cruise lines and accounts with different vendors,” Matt said. “Cruise Planners took care of all of that. With all of the logistics in place, you have to generate clients and sales, which is the hardest part, but at least the other stuff was taken care of.”

Adventure Lovers Are Invited to Join Cruise PlannersHoffmans Cruise Planners Franchise Owners Article

The Hoffmans love that Cruise Planners lets them showcase their unique personality and brand. The couple is willing to put themselves out there on video—swishing down water slides, soaring across ziplines, touring the bowels of cruise ships, and providing practical tips about saving money. Their upbeat, colorful videos resonate with potential travelers, who often ask them questions.

“We talk to the camera how we talk to each other,” Chelsy said. “I think maybe that makes people feel comfortable with us. I think, oh, maybe I can work with them and see if they can help us with our vacation. Be yourself, and you’ll attract the right audience.”

YouTube has also served as an education vehicle for the couple, helping to explain how travel agents add value to vacations. By addressing viewers’ comments and talking to them in a friendly way, the couple can passively sell their services to individuals interested in cruising, which is how they prefer to sell. And while they’re always happy to increase their social media engagement, getting new subscribers and likes isn’t the main goal for Hoffman Happy Travels.

“When you’re starting out in this venture, people always ask about how many subscribers you have or how many views you have,” Matt said. “And that may not be beneficial in the long run.”

As the Hoffmans look to the future, they plan on capturing new adventures on video. Some of their goals include sampling more exotic vacations and hosting more group cruises. Last year, for the first time, the couple connected with their online audience at sea, sailing with some of their YouTube viewers. While they are always interested in hitting their sales targets, they are most interested in building a business that endures.

“When you take a grassroots approach, you may have a slow burn, but it’s an authentic one that will be sustainable over time,” Matt said. “We think more about the impact of this on our family’s life and what the impact could have on our viewers’ life if we can show them more things, interact with them, or inspire them to start their own channel or business. If you can impact the world like that, that’s pretty great.”

Ready to Set Sail as a Cruise Planners Franchise Owner?

Hoffman Happy Cruises isn’t the only franchise giving Cruise Planners high marks. In a 2022 survey, Franchise Business Review (FBR) collected feedback from its active franchisees.

  • 96% of Cruise Planners franchisees are likely to recommend the franchise to others (that’s 13% higher than the overall industry benchmark).
  • 93% of franchisees enjoyed being part of the Cruise Planners franchise.
  • 92%  agree that senior management effectively drives the brand forward.

Franchise Business Review continually recognizes Cruise Planners as a Top Franchise. In 2024, the franchise was recognized as an FBR Top 200 Franchise, a Top Low-Cost Franchise, and a Top Franchise for Women.

You don’t need to be a veteran cruiser to embark on a new career with Cruise Planners, but you do need to have a passion for travel and helping others. With a low barrier to entry and no office requirement, Cruise Planners is one of the most affordable franchises available. You can choose to work full- or part-time while you continue to work your day job and ramp up your business.

As part of your franchise fee, you receive training at STAR University, a six-day in-person training in Ft. Lauderdale. There, you’ll also get matched with a coach who will provide ongoing, one-on-one coaching at no extra cost to you. Additionally, franchise owners get access to CP Genie, an online learning platform that includes hundreds of training videos and learning experiences.

The Cruise Planners corporate office provides extensive marketing support, including web, email, social media, and direct mail support.

  • Initial Franchise Fee: $9,995 to $10,995 (Cruise Planners offers a $1,000 discount for a limited time.)
  • Initial training fee: $695 for additional individuals taking part in training
  • Total Startup Investment: $2,295 to $23,464
  • Royalty: 1-3% of gross commissionable sales

The Cruise Planners franchise offers special pricing for military veterans, first responders, existing travel professionals, and others. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and think you’d enjoy helping vacationers navigate post-pandemic travel, Cruise Planners could be the right fit for you.

For more information about joining the Cruise Planners travel franchise, call (888) 582-2150 or visit

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