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Success story

Rick Carlson, home worker, franchise of

Rick Carlson owns a small but highly successful home-based travel business that is part of the Cruise Planners Franchise. Alongside his wife and brother, he has managed to harness the true potential of social media to capture the hearts and minds of clients from not only his surrounding area within Massachusetts but across the whole of the USA.

Rick and his wife Allison have always had a passion for travel, and all they have ever wanted to do is share this passion with fellow travelers so that they get a holiday experience that is way above and beyond their expectations. This is when the idea came to them to flirt with Facebook to begin sharing their own experiences. Since then they have built an extra edge to their business which fits perfectly with their lifestyle and outlook on travel.

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Posted by Cruise Planners - on Saturday, 7 January 2017

"Blizzard Bonus" - Rick often uses imaginative ways to create special offers


Here are Rick’s top pieces of advice for becoming a true travel specialist and getting ahead in today’s modern game of travel…


Before we even start to mention social media, inbound marketing and any other trending phrases, THE most important thing is to really love travel and make sure that you always show this enthusiasm and energy. Rick explains why this is so important…

When you pick up the phone, make the person know that you are there for them. Make them feel instantly comfortable so that they know that they will be in safe hands. First impressions really count, and lasting impressions even more so. If you aren’t already 100% energised by travel, then you need to make sure that you are before going any further.

But it’s not just about answering the phone. Whenever you have any interaction with your customers you have to remember that you have the chance to build and reinforce what your brand is about. People will come back to you if they trust in you to be their travel expert, so make sure that you get this message across constantly.


To really add value to his customers, Rick makes sure that his priority is to really get to know them. This doesn’t mean just collecting their name, address and telephone number, it also means logging all information that comes out in conversation that he can use afterwards. He takes a note of anniversaries, birthdays and other key dates in the diaries of all his customers, and he then inputs this information into his CRM database. He gives a good example of how this data can all be put into action

I recently organised a cruise for a couple and it just so happened to be the husband’s birthday while they were on the liner. As I had this info I was able to arrange for a few nice surprises while he was on the cruise, and all it took was a quick phone call. When they got back they were so appreciative of this gesture, and it was so nice to know that I had made their trip that little bit more special.

Adding this extra value can really go a long way to cementing long-term relationships with customers, as well as helping capture new clients via online reviews and good old word-of-mouth.


Rick only started to flirt with the idea of using social networks in 2015, but he hasn’t looked back since. Both Rick and Allison are very active on their Facebook page and recognise that the adoption of a social media strategy has really been a key tool to help increase brand awareness, boost the number of new clients and engage with existing clients.

They have both seen that views, shares, likes and links through to sales have all increased when they use video as their choice of format. Rick has used video to record unique experiences on his own travels, which he shares with his following on Facebook. He also uses video to launch special offers and just create a fun way to engage with his customer base.

Cruise Planners Facebook page screenshot

Facebook is now a key part of Cruise Planners marketing strategy

I have posted many stories and items on Facebook but when I create a video post I get literally a 3,000% increase in views as opposed to when I use a standard text or graphic post.


Not only does Rick fully do his homework on the travel industry to always provide timely and relevant offers, he also put clever twists on situations and uses them to his advantage…

I remember not so long ago, when we had a blizzard, I was trying to clear my driveway when all of a sudden I began thinking about how nice it would be to just jet off to the Caribbean. This is when I got an idea to post a video to say exactly this. It was hugely successful. I also created a special offer for the Super Bowl whereby I offered to double the on-board credit offered by the cruise line for customers who booked cruises within the short time frame before the start of the match. Again, this was massively successful and led directly to bookings. To make things even sweeter, my team, the New England Patriots, won the Super Bowl!

Super Bowl exclusive offer with Norwegian Cruise Lines and Cruise Planners of Hyannis. Book your Norwegian cruise on the Dawn from Boston or the Gem or Breakaway from NYC,balcony or higher stateroom and Norwegian will give you a $100 on board credit. Book the Escape, Epic or Getaway from Florida and receive a $50 on board credit for a balcony or higher stateroom. Reserve your cruise for only $50 pp!!!! When the Patriots win the Super Bowl Cruise Planners of Hyannis will provide all balcony cabins booked by Friday, Feb 3 at 5 PM an additional $100 to spend on the ship! New bookings only made from 10:00 am Jan 30 to 5 PM February 3. Watch the video and book today!

Posted by Cruise Planners - on Monday, 30 January 2017

Rick has seen great success from limited time offers like his Super Bowl Patriots offer


Rick and Allison have constantly had to reinvent how they build their brand and how they interact with new and existing customers. They realised that they still have a place amongst the huge OTAs and Tour Operators, as long as they kept true to their promise of being the friendly travel experts that people love to connect with. They also embraced social networks and all the benefits of building a digital strategy into the makeup of the overall business strategy.

The future certainly looks bright for our friends at

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