Connie Ng’s life changed when her son was born. His genetic problems made daycare too expensive, so Connie quit her job in finance to stay at home with her son. But bills still needed to be paid, so Connie looked for a way to help support her family while caring for her son. That’s where CruiseOne/Dream Vacations comes in: working as a home-based travel agent gave her the flexibility her family needed.
What does your travel agency franchise target?
I focus specifically on romance travel—destination weddings and honeymoons—as well as family travel. Both of these niches go really well hand-in-hand. Targeting a specific market has helped me focus my marketing dollars.
How have your skills carried over from your previous career?
I worked in finance, specifically annuities and taxes. My background in customer service, internet research, and office skills helps keep me organized and able to relate to and answer questions from my clients.
What is one thing you wish somebody told you before you opened your travel agency franchise?
That it’s not all fun and travel—there is a ton of education needed to keep up with the ever-changing travel industry.
How has your business grown over time?
When I began as a home-based travel agent, business was very slow as I didn’t have a ready database to go to. But over the last five years, I have seen an increase in sales every year, and I have seen the benefits of owning a travel agency franchise.
What tool/resource/team at HQ has contributed most to your growth and why?
One of the biggest benefits of owning a travel agency franchise is having someone with years of travel experience available to give advice, bounce ideas off of, and get assistance from. This support has really made my success possible. The Support Services team is a lifesaver, plus they can undo all the mistakes I’ve made over the years.
What advice do you have for a franchise owner who is looking to grow their business?
My business really picked up when I joined Business Networking International. Having a local business network has really opened doors for my business. Specialize in a niche, but don’t refuse other clients. Many times clients will book a smaller cruise or trip to test you out before entrusting you with the big family reunion or wedding. And speaking of reunions and weddings, groups are the way to go! The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) says that 30 percent of your revenue should be groups if you want to succeed.
What advice do you have for somebody looking to own a travel franchise?
Do your research before picking a travel agency franchise or host company. I spent six months looking over everything I could find about different options and there is a huge spread in pricing, commission splits, and support. I chose CruiseOne because I wanted to be a franchise owner and I wanted to be affiliated with World Travel Holdings.
What is your Dream Vacation?
I’ve always wanted to go the Maldives and stay in an underwater room.