Michelle Fee, Cruise Planners CEO, Triumphs as Ultimate CEO Honoree

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Michelle Fee is of the leading CEOs in the travel industry, and she’s a woman

Michelle Fee (Left), CEO of Cruise Planners receives South Florida Business Journal’s Ultimate CEO award alongside Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises.

“Cruise Planners continues to be the round peg in the square hole, and we celebrate standing out because we do things differently. It’s our secret sauce in a sea full of sameness," said Michelle Fee, CEO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative.

The South Florida Business Journal (SFBJ) honored Michelle Fee, CEO, and co-founder of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, at the 2017 South Florida Ultimate CEO Awards. The awards ceremony was held on Sept. 28 in Fort Lauderdale, where Fee was recognized as a top executive officer for her business acumen, travel expertise and philanthropy.

For the second time, she is considered an Ultimate CEO from SFBJ. For over 23 years, Fee has been recognized as an astounding leader throughout the travel industry and across South Florida because she thinks differently. The travel agency landscape has evolved over the years – from a travel agency at every corner of yesteryear to the home-based business model flourishing today – and Fee has been part of that forward-thinking initiative.

“Being the Ultimate CEO means challenging yourself and your team to think differently,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. “Cruise Planners continues to be the round peg in the square hole, and we celebrate standing out because we do things differently. It’s our secret sauce in a sea full of sameness.”

Due to Fee’s excellence in providing the best leadership and inspiring those with a passion for travel to live their dreams, Cruise Planners has grown tremendously; starting with just five franchises and gradually expanding to more than 1,800 nationwide. Cruise Planners is considered one of the nation's largest home-based travel franchise organizations and continues to be an exemplary model in the travel industry with home-based travel agents in all 50 states.

Fee is passionately dedicated to her franchisees and believes in pushing the envelope, which allows her to continuously surpass the leadership benchmark she raises each year, while making a positive impact in her community and the travel industry.

“As the CEO, I am in a unique position to help inspire our franchise owners to define their own success,” Fee said. “Travel is a relationship business, and I value our strategic alliances with our home-based travel agents, land and tour partners and our long-lasting cruise industry partnerships.”

Fee is the ultimate woman in power and a great role model for female entrepreneurs.

About Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative:
Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, is the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise network in the travel industry. Cruise Planners operates a network of more than 1,800 franchise owners who independently book amazing vacation and travel experiences for their clients. The Florida-based Home Office Team positions a nation-wide network of franchise owners for success by providing innovative marketing, booking and technology tools, as well as professional development and hands-on training with the industry’s top executives. The company continues to be lauded and has been named the No.1 travel franchise by Entrepreneur magazine for 14 consecutive years. Cruise Planners was recently featured in Entrepreneur as one of the top 30 franchise innovators in technology, has been consistently named as one of the Top Women-Owned Businesses by the South Florida Business Journal, is on the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America, has been ranked as the #1 travel franchise by Franchise Business Review for 6 years in a row, and was recognized as one of the Top Workplaces by the Sun Sentinel since it started ranking companies.

Headquartered in Coral Springs, Fla. with more than 23 years of experience, Cruise Planners has achieved top producer status with every major cruise line. Accolades include numerous Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly, American Express Travel Representative Excellence Award for 13 consecutive years (2004-2016), American Express Agency of the Year (2010), Royal Caribbean International Chairman’s Award (2015), Royal Caribbean International President’s Award for Overall Achievement (2012 and 2014), Royal Caribbean International Home-Based Partner of the Year (2007-2013), Norwegian Cruise Line Elite Agency of the Year (2016), Norwegian Cruise Line Franchise Agency of the Year (2011-2015), Celebrity Cruises Home-Based Partner of the Year (2016), Celebrity Cruises Field Sales Account of the Year (2015), Celebrity Cruises Home-Based Account of the Year (2013-2014) and Celebrity Cruises Southeast Region Travel Agent Partner of the Year (2010), Travel Impressions Best of the Best Globe Award (2008-2016), Sandals Top Host – Worldwide, Globus Family of Brands Premier Agency Partner (2009-2016), Platinum Circle Member with Viking River Cruises (2009-2015), Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Top Producer (2008-2014) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises Top Producer. Cruise Planners is one of the Top 50 franchises for Veterans according to GI magazine, the Top Franchise Brand for Veterans according to Franchise Business Review, has been named one of the Top 25 franchises for African-Americans by Black Enterprise magazine and is a member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. For more information, visit http://www.cruiseplanners.com.

Stay in Touch: Media can stay up-to-date with Cruise Planners by visiting our media room, following us on Twitter @Cruisitude or on Facebook. For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should locate a travel advisor near them. For those interested in becoming a franchise owner, please visit the Cruise Planners franchise website.

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Media Contact:
Caitlin Gardner, Director of Public Relations
Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative
CGardner@cruiseplanners.com
954-344-8060

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Caitlin Gardner
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