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Princess’ New Tools and Initiatives Help Agents Win the Cruise-Selling GameJune 9, 2008 By: David Eisen Travel Agent
Another new feature has been added to POLAR Online, the reservation system of Princess Cruises, Cunard Line, and Holland America Line, which gives travel agents the ability to manage group amenities, just another feature added to the popular and robust online agent platform. The line has touted POLAR Online for its speed and efficiency, saying a new booking can be created in seven easy steps, all of which can take as little as two swift minutes.
Now, in what Princess is calling the first of any such tool in the industry, agents will have the capability to offer clients a host of varying amenity options, such as strategically placing a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries in a client’s stateroom upon arrival, hosting a group cocktail party or offering guests onboard credit. Perhaps the best and easiest part, all of this can be attained with only a few strokes on the keyboard as agents create or manage a group booking.
Princess says travel agents constantly offer feedback on how to better enhance POLAR Online, and a group amenities function was high on their list. Above all, many more agents have bought into the idea of working online for its ease and fluidity. Of course, in today’s tech-dominated business world, the choice to move online is less of an option as it is a requirement. Luckily, cruise lines, such as Princess, have made it comfortable and seamless to move from phone to PC. “Agents appreciate being able to do as much of their business as possible online,” said Jan Swartz, Princess’ senior vice president of sales and customer service. “With this new addition, not only can agents set up and manage groups online, but now can also quickly use their amenity points to customize their group.”
Group amenity points, which are attained on most voyages, allow agents to choose from a number of options to better enhance a group’s time spent during a cruise. Amenity points can also be used toward stateroom upgrades and passenger gifts. Agencies can also benefit with options for bonus commission.
If added online benefits were not enough, Princess is also helping agencies keep promotional spending down. A new program called Princess Alliance will enable graduates of Princess’ online training program, known as Commodores, and their agencies, the ability to personalize co-branded direct mail pieces, which will cut down on direct-mail costs and help to attract new business.
The Princess Alliance program gives Princess Academy Commodores the ability to piggyback off of Princess’ direct marketing efforts, saving time, an agent’s most precious commodity, and money, always appreciated. “This program offers a simple way for agents to send professional mailings to their clients, at a fraction of the cost of doing it themselves,” Swartz says. Wary agents should rest assured that Princess will not have access to their mailing lists.
A total of six Princess Alliance mailings are scheduled this year, the first on July 7; however, Commodores will be able to access the tool to create and personalize that first mailing as early as June 16. Princess also says that no minimum number of pieces is required.
Each mailing is also timed with customer booking patterns, and uses Princess’ art and design to promote specific destinations. Subsequently, agencies can personalize their mailing with information and details of upcoming events, cruise sales or agency pricing. Best of all, the pieces are mailed by Princess on behalf of the agencies, who can also order a bulk quantity to display in their offices or use for in-house mailings.
For information on POLAR Online and the new Princess Alliance program, agents are directed to visit www.onesourcecruises.com.