Travel executives from the U.S. and Canada joined Carnival Cruise Lines executives at the Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale, FL earlier this week for the first meeting of the Carnival Executive Forum. The new forum will provide travel agents and Carnival executives opportunities to discuss issues relevant to the cruise industry, including product, sales and marketing policies, and distribution. The forum will meet twice a year during intensive two-day conferences with members serving two-year terms.
The travel agent executive forum will also provide Carnival management with a vehicle for enhancing their understanding of unique challenges faced by travel agents while looking for best-practice solutions that will benefit all parties involved.
“Travel agents are the largest and most vital part of our distribution system," said Lynn Torrent, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest experience. "And while Carnival has always enjoyed an excellent relationship with the travel agent community, this new executive forum offers an opportunity to enhance our dialogue with agents while seeking new ways to make them more successful and profitable in today’s marketplace.”
The 19 travel agent members that comprise the Carnival Executive Forum were specifically chosen to represent a wide range of business models, including traditional “brick and mortar” agencies, home-based travel agents, consortia, and online retailers. Additionally, the members represent agencies of different sizes and from various regions throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The travel agent members include:
Roberta Christman of AAA Northern California
Brad Anderson of America’s Vacation Center
Sandy Cleary of Cru Con Outlet
Anthony Hamawy of Cruise.com
John Keen, a cruise consultant
Vicky Garcia of Cruise Planners
Michael Drever CruiseShipCenters
Ross Spalding of Cruise Value Center
Koreen Mcnutt of Expedia
Joyce Landry of Landry & Kling
Makis Xenatos of Liberty Travel
Jackie Friedman of Nexion
Ed Rudner of Online Vacation Center
Marcia Rowley of Our Vacation Center
Filomena Andre of Signature
Mark Jacobs of The Cruise Line Limited
Ken Lorey of Travelocity
Emerson Hankamer of Vacations to Go
David Crooks of World Travel Holdings
Carnival executives participating in the forum include President and CEO Gerry Cahill, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Guest Experience Ruben Rodriguez, Senior Vice President of Sales and Guest Experience Lynn Torrent, Vice President of Field Sales Joni Rein, and Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships Edie Bornstein. Other members of Carnival’s senior management team will be participating in this function, as well.