How much impact do agents have on the success of cruising? A lot, according to Charles Sylvia, vice president of membership and trade relations, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
Sylvia said research shows that 72 percent of those taking a mainstream or premium cruise vacation use a travel agent to book the cruise.
Even more impressive is that, when purchasing a luxury cruise that costs $500 per person daily and up, consumers use a travel advisor 93 percent of the time.
“The people to whom you sell need to understand that in a monumental way," Sylvia told an agent audience of 1,000 travel advisors attending Cruise360's second General Session on Friday afternoon. "You are not only a relevant resource but also a critical player in ensuring the success of their total cruise experience."
Sylvia urged agents to put those statistics and that type of message beneath their email signature on the back of their business card, “or anywhere you think it will be noticed by your clients,” he said. “It speaks volumes about the real value of travel consultants."
He believes that if CLIA's 25,000 travel agent members make it part of their routine, it will create better awareness of the relevance, significance and value of a travel agent.
“Simple actions” are important, he said, to show that “not only do we still exist, but we’re growing in numbers and making a significant economic contribution – propelling the cruise industry forward year after year after year.”