Today Cruise Planners-American Express Travel began its annual convention at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Fla., with an opening session that unveiled exclusive new technology and important industry announcements. With nearly 500 travel advisors at the sold-out event, the company predicted another successful year ahead based on strong sales and projections.
The event opened with Cruise Planners CEO and co-founder Michelle Fee introducing the Power in Partnerships theme as the company rings in its 20th anniversary in January.
“We have reached critical mass, which means we can leverage our power and partnerships even more for our agents,” she said. “This has been a fantastic year with the launch of some amazing technologies such as our mobile app and CP Social, as well as new programs including the Sea of Love LGBT Commitment Ceremony Cruise. All of these keep us at the forefront of the industry.”
The company released sales statistics revealing record growth and giving agents a positive outlook for 2014. Cruise Planners has seen a 29 percent increase in cruise purchases during the past three years and experienced absolute growth in every cruise destination since this time last year. The company’s land sales have also grown by 121 percent in three years, proving Cruise Planners is a well-rounded travel company.
Cruise Planners also announced a number of new technologies to make the sales process even easier for travel advisors. Cruise Planners improved its online reservations booking and management tool, which is now fully integrated with all major cruise lines, so each CP travel advisor is even more powerful. Cruise Planners will immediately introduce “live theme” video backgrounds for websites. Cruise Planners also updated the Value Tracker tool, which automatically tracks bookings and lets agents know when there is an opportunity for a value-add such as upgrades, added amenities or savings to pass along to clients. Since it launched in May, is has provided more than $1.2 million in added value for agents.
Starting next year agents will have mobile-friendly versions of their websites. Different from the mobile application, customers will soon be able to access agent sites to book travel with the swipe of the finger on smartphones or tablets. Another innovation is the Smart Select tool, which will allow agents to automatically identify clients within their database who best match a specific marketing campaign to maximize efficiency and make the best use of each agent’s marketing dollars. The company will also offer a “Pro” version of Smart Select that will augment third-party psychographic and demographic information to reach customers with the message at the right time.
The land portion of the national convention will continue on Saturday, Oct. 26 with the closing ceremony taking place on Sunday, Oct. 27. The group will then set sail on the inaugural voyage of the Royal Princess out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
For more information, visit www.cruiseplanners.com