Barely six months after launching the program, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has congratulated its first Accredited Cruise Manager (ACM) graduate. Jane Vogel, owner of Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Orangeville, Ontario has successfully completed all requirements to earn what is CLIA’s newest professional development Certification designation.
Vogel’s accomplishment comes as CLIA records another milestone for its Certification system – the 12,000th Accredited Cruise Counsellor graduate – Nuriel Vardi, co-owner of B. Starlite Travel in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. In all, over 19,000 Certification designations, or approximately 1,000 annually, have been awarded since 1992 when the program was started. Almost 5,000 agents have become Master Cruise Counsellors (MCC) and some of those have continued on to earn Elite Cruise Counsellor, Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar, or Luxury Cruise Specialist designations.
Introduced at cruise3sixty in Fort Lauderdale in April, the new ACM program was prompted by CLIA member agency managers and other professionals looking for a vehicle that would recognize their unique skills and responsibilities and assist them is training and motivating their sales staff.
“We congratulate Jane Vogel for her accomplishment in becoming CLIA’s first ACM graduate. Recognizing the value of the new designation, she has worked hard to complete all requirements quickly and we wish her and her agency all the best for the future,” said Bob Sharak, CLIA’s executive vice president for marketing and training.
Vogel joined the travel industry after 20 years working in warehouse distribution management in Canada. “When my company moved to the U.S., I spent a year trying to decide what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to run my own business and started looking at various options. A friend said to me, ‘You love to travel, why not get into the travel business?’” Vogel said.
“After some research I bought a franchise Expedia CruiseShipCenters and we opened in 2009. I had a lot to learn and my franchise gives me a lot of support, but I needed more. I started with getting my Accredited Cruise Counsellor (ACC) and when I saw the ACM course I knew it was just what I was looking for. The courses were great and, being new to the business, they have helped me out a lot. The program gave me motivation to motivate my sales staff and I’ve now encouraged all of my consultants to register for their ACC because the training is invaluable,” she added.
The ACM program enables agency leadership personnel who are not full-time selling travel agents to complete a course of study and hands-on experience that encompasses personal cruise experience, ship inspections, seminars and a case study leading to Certification. Past cruise experience, training courses and product knowledge may be used to fulfill the requirements.
The program is available to all those working in a leadership capacity affiliated with a CLIA member travel agency but not as a full-time selling travel agent. This may include executives, directors, accounting or marketing managers, ecommerce professionals, trainers or other positions. Within two years of enrollment, participants must complete: five ship inspections, two personal cruises of seven days or more on CLIA-member lines, one of four case study options from the areas of marketing, business plans, enhancing service and closing the sale training, and eight of 14 training seminars or other CLIA training programs. Successful completion of CLIA’s Institute Track at cruise3sixty, and achievement of The Travel Institute’s CTA, CTC, or CTIE designations may contribute toward completion of ACM requirements. The seminars included in the menu of 14 options may be taken live in a classroom or online.
To facilitate completion of the requirements, enrollees in the ACM program are required to fill out a Mandatory ACM Training Journal that details what case study and which seminars are completed as well as information about cruises taken and ship inspections performed.
A nominal enrollment fee of $70 is charged to cover the cost of materials, processing exams, grading the journal and general administration. Upon completion, each Accredited Cruise Manager receives a certificate of achievement, a lapel pin, a press release for local distribution, and logo sheets to be used with business cards and stationery.