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Gone Cruising: Starwood Launches Cruise Package OptionMarch 6, 2009 By: David Eisen
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is hoping to become the choice of cruisers either pre- or post-cruise. The hotel operator has created a program specifically tailored to cruising, which agents can tap into now at www.starwoodpro.com. The new service allows agents, and their clients, to choose from 60 port cities in 17 countries and more than 140 hotels in the Starwood portfolio.
Not only is extending a vacation either after or prior to sailing, Starwood's new service extends competitive rates and toss-ins like daily breakfast. For agents, pre- and post-cruise rates through Starwood are fully commissionable.
"Starwood recognizes that every time your customer travels, they may not select a land based vacation," said Chris Austin, vice president, global customer partnerships, leisure & luxury sales. "We partner with many cruise lines in the industry, and truly recognize the value of the cruise traveler to the industry as a whole. This new initiative provides additional options for travel professionals as they strive to build the best vacations for their customers and the best profit potential for themselves."
In lieu of the website, agents can also call 800-334-8484 and request promo code PPC or search in the GDS under promotional rates.
The new program is being lauded by CLIA. "Starwood has been a steadfast supporter of the dedicated travel agencies of the CLIA community, accepting our agents' credentials for commissions and supporting our agents through training and sponsorship of our annual Cruise3Sixty event," said Terry Dale, CLIA's president and CEO. "This newest initiative, with pre- and post-cruise packaging, is yet another opportunity for our travel professionals to satisfy their customers and support our partners."
As an early bonus feature, any pre- and post-cruise booking made during 2009 will also qualify travel agents for an entry in Starwood's new "Book and Win BIG" sweepstakes. The sweepstakes will run through 2009 with 12 monthly prizes of 50,000 Starpoints and a grand prize of one million Starpoints.