National Cruise Vacation Week October 17-23

National Cruise Vacation Week October 17-23

With Encouragement from Travel Agents and Cruise Lines, CLIA Expands World’s Largest Cruise Night to a Weeklong Event to Increase Sales Opportunities

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) will launch a new one-week promotion – National Cruise Vacation Week – “The World’s Largest Cruise Sale” this fall. Scheduled for October 17-23 and based on feedback from travel agents and many cruise lines, NCVW expands and replaces CLIA’s highly successful “World’s Largest Cruise Night.”

The promotion is designed to significantly increase opportunities for agents to promote and sell cruises through special “physical” sales events and “virtual” promotions during the NCVW period by focusing consumers’ attention on cruising through special value offers and other incentives.

“Since 2005 when CLIA launched World’s Largest Cruise Night, it has been a resounding success. Last year it resulted in an estimated 41,000 bookings, $47+ million in sales and over $6 million in potential travel agency commissions,” said Bob Sharak, CLIA’s executive vice president for marketing and distribution. “Now 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. That’s the rationale for National Cruise Vacation Week and we expect it be an even greater success.”

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, large, small, innovative and diverse, were held in travel agency offices, hotel ballrooms, restaurants, luxury car dealerships, convention centers, 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 VIP guests showed up and Seabourn later reported 140 new bookings.

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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 own customized WLCN Web site 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.

“This year, National Cruise Vacation Week provides the opportunity to see these numbers grow even further,” Sharak added.

Effective August 9th, 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 October 17-23 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 versatile 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 a valuable extension to an agency’s e-mail, web and social media marketing efforts throughout October.

The NCVW “Dashboard” on the CLIA website will also provide useful resources and information necessary to plan and implement innovative, 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 a variety of marketing materials including press release shells, postcard and flyer templates, logos and other marketing assistance. Agents can even learn how to promote their participation in NCVW with an integrated Facebook button.