Sell Now: CLIA's Big Night Already Shatters Records

The combination of travel agents participation, the support of cruise lines and partnerships with other industry suppliers such as American Express leads to a welcomed conclusion: the Cruise Lines International Association's (CLIA) World's Largest Cruise Night (WLCN) October 14 event will shatter previous participation records by nearly 25 percent.

Leading up to WLCN’s promotion, over 4,000 virtual, or online, events and 1,262 traditional, or live, events had been registered, with more likely at the last minute as agents continue to step up to take advantage of CLIA's and member lines' marketing support to reach consumers.

"We are beyond thrilled that travel agents have embraced World's Largest Cruise Night in record numbers this year,"  said Bob Sharak, executive vice president, CLIA. "There's never been a more important time to create your own stimulus package and WLCN is a unique opportunity to boost cruise sales through high-visibility virtual or traditional events designed to reach those customers most likely to cruise. Once again, with this increased level of participation, we have the potential to break all records."

WLCN ‘09 represents a nearly 30 percent increase in virtual, or online, events over the past year and a 10 percent increase in live events ranging from in-store cruise night promotions to partnerships with such companies as Mercedes Benz targeting the most affluent consumers.

Noteworthy is that American Express is teaming up with CLIA member agents by offering a $10 American Express-branded prepaid card every time a booking of $1,700 or more is made with any American Express Card made during the promotional booking window.

CLIA said that, immediately at the end of October, it will survey participants to determine and report on total number of bookings and their sales value as well as total commissions for World's Largest Cruise Night.

WLCN, which offers shoppers a range of booking windows into November, is designed to showcase special offers made by the 25 member cruise lines of CLIA and their thousands of travel agent partners throughout North America.

In 2008, the event generated more than $40 million in cruise sales as vacationers jumped at the chance to save. In addition to a “Virtual WLCN,” where consumers can go online and obtain all the information they need on special offers, view videos and contact participating travel agents, special events are planned during the 24-hour period on October 14 at travel agencies around the country.

Among the scores of sales incentives offered by CLIA members are $1,000 savings on a Christmas or winter cruise in Europe, “companions sail free” offers, hundreds of dollars in shipboard credits on sailings through the end of 2010, 50 percent savings on international airfares and $100 per person discounts.