An entrepreneur at heart, Paul Blair is always looking to add his touch to products and services. In the past, Paul built an ongoing and successful security business from the ground up, managing the planning and design of systems. Just over 5 years ago after booking another cruise, Paul saw the process was different, and after discussion with multiple upset travel agents, he knew he could come up with a simple cost effective solution for both travel agents and individual cruisers. Utilizing his background and his entrepreneurial spirit, Paul saw an opportunity to provide a new solution to the luggage tag problem in the cruise industry. This was the birth of Cruisetags! Keeping close to two million cruisers luggage on track to their cruise cabins, Paul has built his reputation on impeccable service and quality. Paul has been a resident of Kamloops for 17 years, with his wife, daughter, and dog. When he isn’t glued to the newest technology or gadget, Paul is an avid mountain biker, average golfer, and enjoys cruise vacations in the sun.
Travel Research Online (TRO): How did your previous experience in entrepreneurship and building businesses from the ground up help you in making Cruisetags what it is today?
Paul Blair (PB): My other business was a service-based business in an already established market. How we stood out was having the best service and follow-up in the local industry. This is the foundation of Cruisetags, with quick and efficient service; we try to respond to all inquiries within minutes to ensure clients are not waiting.
TRO: What is your favorite aspect about working in the travel industry?
PB: Talking to travel agents and hearing all their client stories, as well as hearing about all the super travel destinations, so I make my next vacation plans!
TRO: You saw a problem in the cruise industry and created a solution to that problem. Can you tell us more about that process?
PB: About 5 ½ years ago, cruise luggage tags were similar to what you get at an airline counter when they label your luggage: the cruise lines sent you a sticker with your cruise information and you attached that to your luggage. I had had these on a number of cruises and they worked fine. Then we booked another cruise, and it was getting close to the time that we should have received those sticker tags – I reached out to my travel agent to find out when I should expect the sticker tags. After chatting with my agent, I heard his dismay with the changes the cruise lines made: now they send you an e-mail with your luggage tag. It prints out on an 8 ½ by 11 inch sheet of paper, and they want you to fold it a few times and then staple it to your luggage. I’ve heard a few stories of how inconvenient this was and people losing their luggage.
With a copy of the new e-document luggage tag in hand, I knew I could make a solution that would fix this concern. After some research and design, I had my prototype ready by the time we were leaving on our cruise. The prototype worked great, and after a few minor adjustments, we created the Cruisetags we are still using after 5 years.
PB: Cruisetags are specifically designed to fit the e-document you receive from the cruise lines. After you print it, you fold as instructed, and then just slide the document into our Cruisetag – straps are included in all our orders.
TRO: What can travel agents expect when ordering products from Cruisetags for their clients?
PB: Quick and professional service, a money back guarantee on all our products, and next day shipping on all blank Cruisetags.
TRO: Cruisetags is currently updating their website to include access on mobile devices and tablets, as well as an “e-comm”. How will these changes on the Cruisetags website benefit travel agents?
PB: We are delighted with the updates we’ve made to the Cruisetags website, and are currently testing it for launch in early June (it looks fantastic!). Our New website will provide dual currencies for Canadian and USA Agents. We strive to try to keep up with technology, and make your shopping experience easier!
TRO: What has been your favorite cruising destination thus far?
PB: The South Pacific, specifically Tahiti.
TRO: What is on the horizon for Cruisetags? Anything new and exciting on its way?
PB: Right now our new website is out top priority, but we are always on the lookout for new products that can make the cruising and travel easier for both travel agents and their clients.
To learn more about Paul Blair and Cruisetags, visit their website at www.cruisetags.ca.