From Facebook group to franchisee: Moms at Sea’s fantastic voyage: Travel Weekly

In a recent post on the Royal Caribbean Moms at Sea: A Family Cruising Guide Facebook group page, a cruiser noticed the cabin on her next voyage had a window blocked. I asked if it should be considered.

This post received a number of helpful comments, including from cruisers who have stayed in similar cabins. With useful information from others, the poster decided to keep the first cabin.

An active group of over 43,000 members offers tips on must-haves for cruising with kids (magnetic wall hooks are a favourite), travel highlights, or whether your cruise line washes guests. They always seem happy to participate, whether or not they offer a quick question. Soda cups between drinks (BYO dish soap, member recommended).

The Facebook group was started by Jamie Margolis Ross and inspired her travel agency, Moms at Sea, a Dream Vacations franchise. Based in Carmel, Indiana, the agency has four independent contractors and plans to add more. In 2022, Moms at Sea will surpass her $3 million in sales, in 2023 she will already have $1.7 million, and in 2024 she will have $700,000.

Within two days of launching Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas in October, Mama’s at Sea booked 232 passengers and generated $350,000 in sales.

She met her husband in a carnival dream

Ross fell in love with cruising ten years ago after spending most of his life thinking it wasn’t for him. She met her future husband, Michael, who came from a cruiser family aboard Carnival Her Dream in 2013.

Ross was smitten and the couple took cruisers frequently. Their eldest daughter, Audrey, now 6, was booked on the cruise before she was born (Ross has another daughter, Palmer, who is now 3).

Sailing at Sea Charm with Audrey in 2017 was a pivotal moment in Ross’ career.

“We came down feeling a little defeated and deflated because we didn’t know about all the great resources. [for kids] “I didn’t even know there was a nursery on board, so I never used it,” she said.

She also didn’t know there were splash pads on the ship for children in diapers to use.

She started a Facebook group initially focused on women (now expanding to all parents) as a forum to discuss the details, tips and tricks she discovered. It’s a resource beyond the level of detail cruise lines provide on their websites, and a place to talk about traveling with kids, including issues like postpartum anxiety Ross experienced and travel anxiety in general. I intended.

“It evolved,” Ross said. “It’s not just a Facebook group. It’s a community.”

The pandemic meant a temporary suspension of cruising, but Ross continued to grow the group and the complementary blog she runs, ensuring accurate information was shared. , she continued.

Some trip advisors in the group have tried to serve their members with little luck. As someone who has developed a relationship with the group, Ross said, “If anyone is going to sell these cruises and help these families, it has to be me.

A little advice from Royal Caribbean’s Vicki Fried

She reached out to Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales and trade support and services at Royal Caribbean International, to share resources and explain different ways to start a travel agency.

Jamie Margolis Ross and daughter Audrey on the Nassau pier with Independence of the Seas in the background. Source: Jamie Margolis Ross

In August 2021, Ross will open the Dream Vacations franchise. She introduced the concept to her Facebook group and it started gaining popularity. “And it was the tsunami,” she said.

“Jamie is passionate about cruising and her love of family and wanted to spread the word about how families can enjoy cruising on Royal Caribbean,” said Freed. It was very popular for giving families tips to help them understand that cruising is a great vacation.

“She was then able to shift her passion to selling cruises and, in a very short time, created an amazing business ranking as one of the top Dream Vacations franchise owners,” added Freed.

Ross said he expects to finish the year among the top 20 Dream Vacations franchisees based on sales numbers.

Moms at Sea aims to grow. Ross is onboarding a team of experienced Disney cruisers to expand sales for Disney Cruise Line. From there, Adventures by Disney and he hopes to expand its product portfolio to include AmaWaterways.

One of her goals is to provide opportunities for other women to enter the travel industry and balance work and family life. She wants to hire as many independent contractors as she can support.

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