Cruise Planners Announces a Reorganization, Including Recruiting Top Talent from the Travel Industry and a C-Level Promotion
Cruise Planners announced changes to its executive team with a reorganization designed to better support its nationwide network of travel advisors. This will further set Cruise Planners franchise owners up for success on their journey through franchise ownership.
“To ensure that we are always providing the best support for our growing network of travel advisors, we also need to grow our Home Office support team and create an internal structure that poises us for continued growth and industry-leading success,” said Michelle Fee, CEO of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. “As the nation’s largest network of home-based travel advisors, we knew we needed to re-envision our internal structure, so we can remain the best resource for our travel advisors.”
Theresa Scalzitti, Chief Sales Officer
Theresa Scalzitti joined the Cruise Planners executive team in 2016 after a 21-year career in operations, marketing and sales at Royal Caribbean International where she earned several top sales awards and achievements for superior sales growth of the home-based channel and other consortia networks. Under Scalzitti’s leadership, Cruise Planners has experienced incredible growth – doubling its total annual sales volume through a laser focus on the overall sales strategy, new marketing campaigns, enhanced business development support and new programs and tools for the network. In her new role as Chief Sales Officer (CSO), she will continue to lead the entire sales organization including retail sales and marketing, franchise development marketing, business development, groups, American Express Travel programs, business intelligence and special programs.
Ana Parodi, Vice President of Sales & Marketing
Reporting to Theresa Scalzitti and new to the Cruise Planners executive team is Ana Parodi, who will serve as the Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Parodi has a strong 30-year career in the cruise industry working for popular cruise lines; Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line; premium cruise line, Oceania Cruises and most recently; river cruise line, Viking Cruises. During her sales and marketing career, Parodi successfully collaborated with the field sales team and led the national accounts team, managed launch events and has worked with all major national accounts and consortia networks, achieving strong sales growth. She will help drive Cruise Planners’ legacy of industry-leading support, positive sales growth, relationship building and more. Parodi will directly oversee the areas of marketing, sales, business development, groups and special programs.
Scott Koepf, Senior Vice President of Strategic Development
Scott Koepf, who has been with Cruise Planners since 2018, is being promoted to Senior Vice President of Strategic Development. Koepf has led the training and events teams within Cruise Planners and has brought his 35 years of experience to the relaunch of Cruise Planners’ industry-leading 6-day training program for new franchise owners, STAR University. In addition, Koepf’s teams are responsible for planning and executing more than 20 training and agent engagement events annually around the country and developing extensive training programs through its LMS, Cruisitude Academy™ including numerous specialist programs to help advisors expand their product and niche program knowledge.
Also, under Koepf’s leadership is Dan Hicks, who is Vice President of Franchise Development. Hicks’ many years of franchise sales experience, together with his team of Franchise Development Managers and support team, has helped the Cruise Planners network of travel advisors grow to be the largest home-based travel franchise group in the nation.
Phill Guerra, Vice President of Technology
Phill Guerra, who joined Cruise Planners in 2010, has been promoted to Vice President of Technology. Guerra has been instrumental at evolving Cruise Planners’ technology team to include software development, quality assurance, project management and other strategic roles. Under Guerra’s direction, Cruise Planners has become an industry leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing technology through highly customized travel tech tools and programs. Guerra has overseen numerous successful rollouts including the development, strategy, launch and ongoing optimization of Cruise Planners’ award-winning CRM, CP Maxx™ as well as the completely re-imagined travel advisor websites, launched in 2019. Guerra will continue to report to Chief Information Officer, Brian Shultz.
“Cruise Planners has the most experienced executive team in the industry. Our focus is to always provide the best tools, marketing, support and training to our network of travel advisors,” said Cruise Planners co-owner and COO, Vicky Garcia. “By enhancing our executive team, we are now even better prepared to continue to innovate and provide industry-leading programs.”