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Ensemble Travel and Costa Cruises Team UpSeptember 29, 2009 By: George Dooley
Ensemble Travel Group has selected Costa Cruises as its newest preferred partner in the cruise arena. The move offers Ensemble members in the U.S. and Canada to earn substantial revenues while selling yet another valued niche product in the cruise industry.
“The primary objective of Ensemble Travel Group is to help our members be more successful and profitable – clear and simple,” said Jack E. Mannix, president and CEO of Ensemble Travel Group. “That means we’re always exploring new supplier opportunities that can present our members with a point of differentiation, which then translates into more bookings and greater earning potential for them. Costa’s international sophistication and culturally diverse ambiance fill a void in our already powerful partner line-up, especially in Europe – and at a very affordable price point. I think all parties will reap the rewards of this new relationship.”
Ensemble Travel Group’s Susan Gannon, senior director, marketing and development-cruise products, also points to Costa Cruises’ new executive team and enhanced sales force as a deciding factor in the partnership. “Costa’s can-do attitude has really come through in all of our dealings with them. It’s clear that they’re totally committed to the agency community,” said Gannon, adding that the cruise line will have a staff person dedicated to handling agent and customer relations for the Ensemble Travel Group account.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Ensemble Travel Group, a very prestigious consortia of high-producing agents that truly understand the cruise business,” said Maurice Zarmati, president and CEO of Costa Cruises—North America. “I’ve worked with the management of Ensemble Travel Group in the past and am confident that we have a strong mutual understanding of each other’s needs.”
Another benefit of the partnership is Costa Cruises’ growing fleet. As Europe’s largest fleet with 14 ships currently in inventory, the line will bring on an additional three vessels by 2012 with a guest capacity of 46,400 passengers. Last year alone, Costa carried a total of about 1.2 million guests, a record for the European cruise industry.
“Many of our members’ premium and contemporary clients want to experience the international sophistication and flair of an Italian crew, a unique and wide variety of ports, and a culturally diverse guest list,” Gannon added. “Thanks to this new partnership, Costa’s expanded fleet, along with its affordable pricing, our members are able to fulfill that client need while earning a respectable profit for their agency.”