Cruise to Success
CruiseOne is a home-based travel franchise that has been in business for 23 years. The company is part of World Travel Holdings, the world’s largest cruise agency. CruiseOne has more than 900 franchise locations in 48 states and Mexico. Seventy-five people work at corporate headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, providing a 12:1 franchisee-to-staff ratio. The company is a member of the International Franchise Association (IFA), and has been active in the IFA’s VetFran initiative since 2009.
CruiseOne has been named partner of the year by all of the major cruise lines, including Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Line.
More than 30 percent of the CruiseOne network consists of veterans and military spouses. The flagship of CruiseOne’s veteran recruitment program is “Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General.” The company awards five free franchises to veterans who demonstrate strong business acumen and passion for travel. At the end of the contest, winners participate in a ceremony featuring city and state officials and other dignitaries. Other programs include offering incentives to veteran franchise owners and to franchisees who hire veterans or spouses of active-duty military. The company has an ambassador of veteran affairs who serves as the point person for all veteran initiatives and acts as the liaison with VetFran.
Veterans are among the most successful franchisees at CruiseOne because many of the skills learned in the armed forces carry over – especially discipline, perseverance, and adaptability. In addition, much like the military, franchises run on systems.
Owning a home-based franchise like CruiseOne enables the franchisee to set his or her own business hours and spend more time with family. The franchisee can also keep the business open if he or she has to move across state lines during the transition into the civilian work force.
A VETERAN SUCCESS | MARK FURLAN
CruiseOne Franchise Owner Mark Furlan served for two years in the United States Army as a chaplain assistant (E4). A deployment in Vietnam gave him firsthand experience in the importance of leadership, communications, and flexibility.
Furlan has been a CruiseOne franchisee for 10 years. As a small business owner, he is responsible for all operations, from customer service and business development to research and accounting. His daily duties consist of networking, marketing, research for clients, organizing group vacations, processing deposits and payments, and following up with customers returning from vacations and past clients who may be interested in booking again.
Furlan is a member of the American Legion and is on the Military Advisory Team for the American Soldier Network. His franchise has achieved platinum level, the highest a franchise can receive based on sales. Furlan has also been named a top sales producer for Viking River Cruises and the premier agency partner for the Globus Family of Brands.
As a chaplain’s assistant, Furlan spent most of his time in the Army working with people – listening and responding to their needs. His people skills helped him find his first job after the Army, and they are also key attributes for a franchise owner who works with customers on a daily basis.
As a military veteran, Furlan found franchising to be a good fit. He uses many of the hard and soft skills that he learned in the military. He attributes much of his success to the organizational skills he learned in the military – and not being afraid to ask for help