If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you have what it takes to become a travel and leisure entrepreneur, working from the comfort of your own home while earning as much as 100% commission on the sales of exciting cruises and destination vacations, then you owe it to yourself to listen to Terri Maldanado.
As a highly successful Recruitment Specialist with Cruises Inc., Terri has firsthand experience in just how rewarding it can be to own your own home-based travel and leisure business, especially when you opt to form a partnership with a great company like hers.
The Cruises Inc. Advantage: Partnering with an Industry Leader
Founded in 1982, Cruises Inc. is the leading travel retailer in the country. It offers aspiring home-based business entrepreneurs an affordable and rewarding business opportunity with no long-term commitment, no royalty or renewal fees and, of course, the flexibility to work when, where and how often you want.
When you partner with Cruises Inc., you get all the training, marketing materials/strategy and other resources you need to start and grow your very own travel and leisure business, and you’re surrounded by an award-winning expert team with more than 40 years of experience to share. Plus, the company’s web-based technology is designed with personalized websites that have all the features you need to keep your business running smoothly.
Interview with the Expert
We recently caught up with Terri to ask her to respond to some of the most often-asked questions posed by our readers, many of whom are interested in buying a business opportunity, distributorship, licensee opportunity or even a small franchise, but who aren’t sure which one is right for them. She had plenty to say about the benefits of the travel and leisure industry in general, as well as the perks of running your own show, and here it is:
Taking the Leap
How does someone know if they have what it takes to own their own travel and leisure business?
The person who has what it takes to own their own travel and leisure business wouldn’t necessarily have to ask this question. Take a look at this list of qualities a travel entrepreneur typically has and you will understand this assertion. The right individual will recognize themselves readily…
• Passion for travel — This is the primary quality a travel entrepreneur exhibits. Destinations are fascinating to them and they live vicariously through the experiences of others; they absorb everything they can about the world around them. They don’t have all the answers about a destination or mode of travel, but are driven to find them, maybe even to the extent of going overboard with details!
• Self-starter — The home-based travel and leisure business owner is a self-starter with a strong work ethic. They don’t need assigned hours or a boss watching over their shoulder. They treat each day, each customer and each travel planning request as their own personal adventure.
• Problem-solver — The very nature of travel-planning research demands that anyone who owns a business of this kind is a problem solver by nature, looking for the best match between clients and the potential adventure that best meets their needs.
Matchmaker, Make Me a Match
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing business owners today and why? Any suggestions for how to address those challenges?
The greatest challenge facing a NEW travel and leisure business owner is the belief that potential customers can book travel on the internet without a travel professional. Internet travel and leisure websites are actually glorified order takers; they are not matchmakers. Travel business owners fan the flames of their customers’ vacation dreams. They add the value of service to the task of booking, making certain the customer’s personal hidden hopes for adventure, discovery, shopping, resting or lifestyle choices are met.
The travel and leisure business owner can meet this challenge by building relationships with his or her potential customers. They need to learn everything they can about both their customers and the products they are selling so that they can become true matchmakers. Matching the ideal vacation destination or mode of travel to each individual is and should be their most unique and marketable quality.
Focus on Your Research and People Skills
What is the single strongest piece of advice you would have for someone just starting out in a travel business for themselves?
Don’t worry about whether you have personally experienced every destination, every ship and every resort. Worry about your people skills of listening and asking questions. Worry about your research skills. Make sure you know where to find the answers. Partner with an organization, like Cruises Inc., that gives you the resources to help you exceed your customers’ needs.
Sales and Marketing
What would you say is the one thing that new travel business owners forget about or overlook when they’re just planning/starting out?
Sales do not happen overnight. First, you learn … then, you sell. Take time for the first, and the second will follow.
What marketing strategies have you found to be most successful in growing a travel business?
Share your passion for travel in unusual places. For example, instead of putting an advertisement in the travel section of the local newspaper, do a PR story about exercising on cruise ships for the Body Builders’ newsletter! End the PR story with information about a group cruise for body builders. You may substitute any affinity group for the body builders, so the opportunities are endless.
Why Travel and Leisure?
What is it about the business/industry you are in that made it so attractive?
Being a travel and leisure business owner opens you up to the whole world. There’s no inventory cost. Growing in experience and knowledge is fun, and every new customer opens the opportunity for a new adventure.
Your Greatest Resource: Partnership with Cruises Inc.
What online, software or other resources have helped you the most in managing all aspects of your company? Why and how have they been helpful?
On this question, I’ll differ to a recent blog published on this very site that is full of all the details about Cruises Inc.’s most valuable resources. In a nutshell, the answer is simple…being in partnership with Cruises Inc. is your greatest resource!
Perks of the Work-at-Home Lifestyle
If you work from home, what are the greatest benefits to doing so?
The greatest benefit to working at home is the ability to balance work and family needs. As long as business goals are measurable, the home-based worker can move obligations around to meet all needs. Work-related budgets are also easier to manage. Costs related to commuting, business attire and away-from-home meals go down.
Favorite Words of Wisdom
What is/are your favorite motto and/or quote when it comes to business?
Travel quote: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
Business quote: “The only way to know how customers see your business is to look at it through their eyes.” – Daniel R. Scroggin
Any final words of encouragement and/or inspiration for the budding entrepreneur?
Don’t try to begin alone. Find a resource for advice, training and/or partnership that you can trust and lean on.
More about the Cruises Inc. Business Opportunity:
For 30 years, Cruises Inc. has established a well-recognized, well-respected and well-established reputation within the travel industry. But don’t take Terri’s or even our word for it, hear it from the Independent Vacation Specialists and cruise line partners featured in the company’s listing on this site.