FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. – With a theme of TOGETHER, the 2021 Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. National Conference aboard Celebrity Apex was a long-awaited family reunion with nearly 900 participants that celebrated overcoming the adversity of the past 20 months and all of the extraordinary accomplishments that resulted. In addition, attendees walked away with an even greater sense of belonging and excitement for the future, as well as raised more than $115,000 for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida through onboard fundraisers.
“It was so wonderful being together again last week aboard Celebrity Apex,” said Drew Daly, senior vice president and general manager of Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. “Excitement was in the air all week as everybody re-connected with each other and got re-energized for 2022 and what we know will be the biggest comeback in travel history.”
The intimate theater aboard Celebrity Apex made it the perfect venue to create more engaging and interactive General Sessions. World Travel Holdings Senior Vice President of Product & Operations David Crooks put suppliers in the hot seat during his Q&A with Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, as well as with executives from Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and GOGO Vacations. Audience participation reached new heights with both advisors and headquarters staff fielding questions and sharing best practices from the crowd. Co-CEO/Chairman Brad Tolkin closed out the week with an uplifting message about how travel will be the best industry to be a part of in 2022.
Throughout the week, the Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. Leadership Team shared a high-level overview of accomplishments from the past year including but not limited to:
- Free Direct Mail Program offered more than 700,000 pieces featuring cruise, resort, tours, luxury and more to consumers.
- Increased Video Marketing added more than 50 new custom videos to advisor’s personal consumer websites, as well as started incorporating video into the free auto-social program.
- Travel Safety Landing Page on the advisor’s websites has informed more than 60,000 visitors about safe and healthy travel, and includes a Travel Safety Guide, Safety at Sea, Air Travel Safety Guide, Resort Travel Safety Guide videos and more.
- Enhanced Weekly Promotional Emails sponsored by headquarters had a circulation of more than 70 million.
- Custom Email Marketing Tool & Templates that sync with the My Cruise Control Customer Relationship Manager system enabled advisors to easily send more than five million custom emails in 2021 to their database of customers. These emails experienced an open rate that is 10 percent higher than the industry average.
- Automated Social Media Program, which also includes a review management tool, posted content to five social media platforms with a reach of more than 700,000 followers.
- Associate Websites that are almost identical to their franchise owner are now available, helping associates distinguish themselves as the client’s agent of record.
- The Help Center which is found within the website booking path, transactional emails and invoices enables consumers to get updated healthy and safety information and more that is relevant to a specific sailing.
- Cruise Invoicing was updated with a new look and feel, giving agents even more custom capability than ever before with the option to hide/show sections, add a detailed Travel Planner itinerary, and more.
- Travel Advisor Learning Summit was a free, industry-wide, one-day virtual summit where nearly 600 attendees got armed with the education and tools to prepare for the pent-up demand in the travel industry.
- College-Style Learning Plan overhauled the existing Learning Center and takes a tiered and personalized approach to supporting travel advisors’ ongoing education and professional development. With flexibility in mind, it offers 100-, 200- and 300-level training courses for different subject areas such as marketing, sales, business administration, groups and more. It features 23 Learning Tracks, more than 110 courses and 1,400 learning modules.
- Virtual Training will continue into 2022 with new advisors having the option to attend initial training either virtually or in-person. This will enable smaller class sizes and increased hands-on learning for those who attend in-person.
- We’re There to Help Loan Program, which was fully financed by World Travel Holdings, funded $1 million in commercial loans to eligible CruiseOne and Dream Vacations franchisees.
Each year, National Conference attendees and suppliers come together to raise funds for signature charity Make-A-Wish, to help create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. This year’s fundraising activities included an onboard silent auction and a virtual Run/Walk, with at-home attendees who were encouraged to fundraise and run from their hometown. As a result of these efforts, more than $115,000 was raised to enrich the lives of children with critical illnesses.
The 2022 National Conference will be held aboard Norwegian Encore.