FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. – A full house gathered at the Encore Theater aboard the Norwegian Encore for the final general session of the 2022 Dream Vacations and CruiseOne National Conference. World Travel Holdings Co-CEO/Chairman Brad Tolkin shared his thoughts about the road ahead for leisure travel and Drew Daly, senior vice president and general manager for Dream Vacations and CruiseOne, had inspirational words of wisdom to motivate the travel advisors about growing their businesses in the upcoming year.
Tolkin provided expert insight into what's to come for the cruise industry in 2023 and inspired agents to keep the momentum moving forward. He shared the impressive numbers Dream Vacations and CruiseOne advisors have generated. Cruise bookings are up more than 23% and cruise pricing is 6% higher compared to 2019. Land bookings and pricing have also benefited from the demand for leisure travel. Land bookings are up more than 33%, with pricing 18% higher compared to 2019.
"We are now not talking about how we will survive, but instead speaking about how we will thrive. Every statistic for cruise and non-cruise is outpacing 2019, which was our network's best year ever,” said Tolkin. “I hope you are buckled up because the great wave of leisure travel will not stop."
Also during the closing general session, World Travel Holdings Senior Vice President of Product & Operations David Crooks sat down with Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Harry Sommer for a Q&A. Recently, Norwegian Cruise Line announced it would pay travel advisors commission on non-commissionable fares (NCFs). Sommer also revealed to the audience that Norwegian was experiencing some of the best weeks in the history of the company overall and in trade sales.
A reflective presentation by Daly on how everyone can move forward by taking life and business one step at a time closed the 2022 National Conference. He inspired and encouraged the crowd of travel advisors to focus on kindness to oneself and gratitude. Daly was then joined on stage by Debbie Fiorino, chief operating officer of owned brands for World Travel Holdings, about their favorite moments and key takeaways from this year's conference.
More than 700 participants celebrated and walked away with a greater sense of belonging. The generosity of the Dream Vacations and CruiseOne attendees resulted in nearly $115,000 raised for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida through onboard fundraisers including a private Encore Speedway racetrack event, 50/50 raffle, private auction and Zumba at Sea.
“The last seven days have been filled with inspiration, networking, new friendships and fun,” said Daly. “This year’s National Conference ended on a high note, and we will continue the momentum through 2023, picking up where we left off when we board Carnival Cruise’s Celebration for next year’s National Conference.”