Norwegian Cruise Line is celebrating the one year anniversary of “Partners First,” the company’s corporate philosophy of putting its travel partners first by unveiling additional investments and initiatives and reaffirming existing efforts as the company continues to strengthen its commitment to the long term success of its valued travel partners.
In 2011, Norwegian committed to long-term travel partner success with a $16 million investment towards new customizable marketing tools with Marketing Headquarters, a complete focus on being easy to do business with, supported by the expansion of Norwegian’s sales team and a commitment to travel partners on direct business. The company also invested an additional $7 million dollars towards streamlining of the booking processes and technology enhancements.
“Our commitment to the travel partner community is stronger than ever,” said Andy Stuart, executive vice president of global sales and passenger services for Norwegian Cruise Line. “Our partners are critical to the ongoing success of our business. We are committed to continued investment that focuses on making sure we are easy to do business with and that ensures the long term health of our travel partners.”
Norwegian will continue to invest in booking technology and infrastructure enhancements with an additional $12.6 million dollar investment to support the travel partner channel. This includes the introduction of technology that will allow Norwegian to introduce “universal reservation agents” in its reservation centers later this year. The company’s new universal reservation agents will operate under the motto “one call does it all,” because they will have the ability to book both individual and group reservations, giving travel partner’s the opportunity to book and service any reservation with a single call.
Additional investments include $17 million dollars towards marketing and co-operative efforts which will also be used to further enhance Norwegian’s industry-leading online support, including a new Travel Partner Portal. With the new portal, agents will only have to log in once to access Norwegian’s booking engine, the award winning NCL University, Marketing Headquarters, information about partner events around the country and additional tools and resources. Furthermore, Norwegian will give travel partners more opportunity to experience the product first hand via seminars at sea, PhD@Sea cruises and Travel Partner Reduced Rates. Every agent who travels with Norwegian can receive special benefits offered via the company’s onboard recognition program, “Partners First Onboard.”
Norwegian remains completely focused on being easier to do business with and will launch a new Group Amenities program that will shift from points to dollar value. This will give travel partners increased flexibility and simplicity when booking group reservations.
Additionally, the company stands firmly behind its commitment to travel partners on direct business and has further strengthened this commitment with the addition of a Travel Agent Locator on Norwegian’s web site to easily connect clients to a travel partner located close to them.
As the Partners First philosophy evolves, Norwegian continues to listen to all travel partner feedback and will actively address key areas of concern. Some areas already addressed include: providing promotions that help maintain pricing levels to protect agent commissions; improving hold times and simplifying the post-call survey. Norwegian will also be offering a Travel Agent Guide and has increased capacity in North America by home porting Norwegian’s two newest ships, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway in New York and Miami. Finally, recognizing that it is important for Travel Partners to experience the company’s newest ship, Norwegian is doubling the stateroom capacity for Norwegian Breakaway inaugural events.