Carnival's Adolfo Perez to advisors: You need a business plan

FORT LAUDERDALE — Adolfo Perez, Carnival Cruise Line’s senior vice president of global sales and trade marketing, has a message for all travel advisors, whether they are franchise owners, full-time independent contractors or part-timers: You need a business plan.

While on stage at CruiseWorld on Friday, Perez said that independent contractors have been thriving since cruising returned from the pandemic shutdown, but many of them, he said, “don’t necessarily feel like they’re running a business.”

Perez and Carnival want advisors to run a tighter ship, and that was the impetus behind the cruise line’s Your Winning Plan initiative, an event and competition series held this summer. It leveraged experts in small business (including the U.S. Small Business Administration) to help travel advisors build solid business plans. Carnival held workshop events in six cities, plus a virtual event. The grand finale was held in Houston on Sept. 28.

Adolfo said more than 1,000 advisors submitted business plans, which were judged by a panel with representatives from Carnival, CLIA and ASTA. The winner was Kimberly Stanley of Adventure by Kim in Tupelo, Miss. 

Your Winning Plan was a different kind of event series than Agentpalooza, a party-like bus tour held in previous years.

“Agentpalooza was fun,” said Perez, “but it was more of a celebration that didn’t necessarily give travel advisors the tools they need to help grow their business.”

Perez added that every business, small or large, needs to have a business plan. “You need to have the ability to track your progress and make adjustments along the way. If you don’t, you just kind of get lost throughout the year.”

Perez said Carnival said it planned to continue its focus on business plans, perhaps doing outreach via webinars.

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