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ASTA`s Cruisefest draws 16 ships at Florida ports

Conquering the cruise market is just a part of the offerings at this year`s ASTA`s Cruisefest. In addition to …

Conquering the cruise market is just a part of the offerings at this year`s ASTA`s Cruisefest. In addition to cruise-focused seminars on everything from marketing your cruise agency to focusing on niche cruises, the event will feature seminars given by well-known, land-based inclusive resorts, a Hong Kong destination course, a trade show and additional roundtable session, and ship inspections of 16 of the most popular cruise ships in Florida`s ports.

The cruise industry has consistently been one of the mainstays in our rebounding travel economy and one that has grown dramatically in recent years with 14 new ships launched last year alone. In 2003, the cruise industry increased its capacity by almost 10 percent and simultaneously managed to increase its passenger load by 11 percent, said ASTA President and CEO Richard M. Copland, CTC. ASTA`s Cruisefest will help agents stay on top of the new ships and, in turn, get an even larger share of this very profitable market.

Educational Seminars

The focus of the Miami conference will be on more than just the cruise industry. Below is a listing of the seminars currently on tap for this year`s ASTA`s Cruisefest (Look for more seminars to be announced in coming weeks):

Sales techniques and tips

  • How to Turn Non-Cruisers Into Loyal Cruise Customers. This seminar will focus on matching the right cruise product to the right customer. Participants will learn effective sales techniques to convert a non-cruiser into a cruiser and repeat customer, as well as the four-step sales process to help agents close more sales over the phone and in person.

  • Building Client Loyalty (Courtesy of CLIA). This program will show agents how to read their customers and sell from their perspective. Participants learn how to uncover hidden client needs, apply quality service, reinforce client loyalty and customize sales techniques to different types of cruisers and learn the 10 fundamentals to building and maintaining client loyalty in today`s world.

  • Tips for Selling More Luxury Cruise and Land Tour Packages. High-yield producing sales and marketing strategies are the focus of this seminar. Agents will learn about the importance of selling luxury products and which companies to focus on; how to develop a luxury product-marketing plan and how to use it to grow luxury sales; how to capture more luxury sales online; and review several examples of luxury sales scenarios.

Marketing & PR

  • Marketing Ideas for Cruise Sellers. This interactive seminar reviews new as well as tried-and-true marketing ideas and techniques to build cruise sales. Topics covered will include e-mail marketing, one-on-one sales calls, good phone sales, getting free publicity, the truth about newsletters and much more.

  • ocal Public Relations Techniques: How to Maximize Your Agent`s Visibility (Courtesy of CLIA). Being a competent and respected travel agent is good, but being a well-known one – the expert everyone comes to – is even better. In this seminar, agents will learn how to become a star in the cruise selling business by increasing their visibility, both personal and professional, in today`s competitive marketplace. And, agents will discover dozens of low or no-cost public relations techniques that will enhance their promotional strategies.


  • Niche Cruise Specialist Certification Program. A comprehensive guide on unlocking the commission earning potential of the specialty cruise market. The course covers identifying potential clients and how to reap the benefits of direct marketing efforts. Travel agents can earn the designation of Niche Cruise Specialist with the bonus commission, special Fam programs and continuing education programs contained in the program.

Business Practices

  • There`s No Place Like Home For Cruise Sellers. This in-depth seminar will open up new channels of information about operating a home-based, cruise-focused travel agency and will give travel agents the facts they need to make important decisions regarding the future of their travel. Topics covered will include choosing a host or going it alone, elements of development, commissions & overrides, supplier relationships, defining expectations & objectives, marketing opportunities, home-office planning and time management.

Expanding Your Horizons

  • Understanding Groups (Courtesy of CLIA). This seminar demonstrates how to develop group business as a profit center covering the following subjects: identifying groups and their characteristics, sources for lead development, marketing to groups, marketing to group leaders, analyzing group potential, pricing and promotional budgeting.

  • Cruising-Knowing the World You Sell (Courtesy of CLIA). Participants will master cruise-related geography from a travel sales perspective. This is a highly participatory workshop-all major cruise areas will be reviewed.

Special Features for Independent and Home-Based Agents

In addition to seminars geared to the needs of home-based agents, there will be a special event during which agents can make personal appointments with host agencies and network with other independent and home-based agents.

2004 ASTA`s Cruisefest Ship Inspections (Agents will be able to see two ships per day at one port only.)

Friday, March 26

Port of Miami

Carnival Cruise Lines` Fascination

Royal Caribbean International`s Majesty of the Seas

Saturday, March 27

Port of Miami

Carnival Cruise Lines` Triumph

Norwegian Cruise Line`s Norwegian Wind

Royal Caribbean International`s Explorer of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International`s Navigator of the Seas

Port Everglades

Celebrity Cruises` Century

Holland America Line`s Zuiderdam

Princess Cruises` Golden Princess

Sunday, March 28

Port of Miami

Carnival Cruise Lines` Victory

Carnival Cruise Lines` Paradise

Royal Caribbean International`s Voyager of the Seas

Port Everglades

Celebrity Cruises` Millennium

Holland America Line`s Oosterdam (New!)

Princess Cruises` Grand Princess

Royal Caribbean International`s Radiance of the Seas

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.