Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is changing its annual October cruise sale promotion into a one-week promotion called National Cruise Vacation Week -- The World’s Largest Cruise Sale. It will replace National Cruise Vacation Month and the one-day World’s Largest Cruise Night. It is scheduled for Oct. 17 to 23.
“Many of our partners are telling us that one 24-hour period, even with the month-long online promotions that go with it, is not enough time to take full advantage of the tremendous consumer interest generated,” said Bob Sharak, CLIA’s executive vice president for marketing and distribution. “That’s the rationale for National Cruise Vacation Week and we expect it will be an even greater success.”
The promotion is designed to significantly increase opportunities for agents to promote and sell cruises through physical sales events and virtual promotions by focusing consumer attention on cruising through special value offers and other incentives.
World’s Largest Cruise Night was launched in 2005 as part of its long-time National Cruise Vacation Month. Last year, World’s Largest Cruise Night resulted in an estimated 41,000 bookings, $47 million in sales and over $6 million in potential travel agency commissions, Sharak said.
In 2010, CLIA travel agencies participating in the WLCN promotions reported that over 50,000 consumers attended physical WLCN cruise events held by a record 1,432 agencies, which generated a total of 21,475 bookings for an estimated $26 million in sales. The events were held in travel agency offices, hotel ballrooms, restaurants, luxury car dealerships, convention centers, and even comedy clubs. World View Travel in Southern California, for example, teamed up with Seabourn Cruise Line, Francis Ford Coppola Estate Winery, Mercedes-Benz of Laguna Niguel and other partners to host “An Evening of Yachts, Wine and Mercedes-Benz” at the car dealer showroom. Close to 400 guests showed up, and Seabourn reported 140 new bookings.
In addition to these physical events, nearly 3,200 agencies in 2010 participated in the month-long Virtual WLCN, sending email invitations to consumers inviting them to visit their customized WLCN website with cruise line videos, agency sales and contact information and special offers. Participating agents estimated over 19,000 bookings and nearly $21 million in actual and future sales as a result of the leads and contacts generated.
Starting Aug. 9, agents can register their participation in NCVW by visiting www.cruising.org/travelagents and completing a NCVW registration and user profile. It is possible to register for both physical and virtual events at the same time. Physical events are intended to be held during or throughout the Oct. 17 to 23 period; virtual events or promotions will run throughout the month. Agencies intending to participate in NCVW are encouraged to register their event(s) at the CLIA site to ensure access to NCVW resources, up-to-date communications and the latest agency and consumer booking incentives from CLIA-member cruise lines.
For those participating with an online virtual promotion, registration provides a free, customized NCVW micro-site, with functionality that includes the option to present as many as seven cruise line videos, as well as copy space for personal sales messages, contact information, agency logos, and photos and captions. The NCVW virtual events can provide an extension to an agency’s email, web and social media marketing efforts throughout October.
The NCVW Dashboard on the CLIA website will also provide resources and information to plan and implement sales-driven physical events and market the agent’s or agency’s participation. These includes descriptions and advice about special event ideas, links to advertising and public relations techniques, and marketing materials including press release shells, postcard and flyer templates, logos and other marketing assistance. Agents can promote their participation in NCVW with an integrated Facebook button. For more information, visit www.cruising.org/travelagents.