Tuesday Briefing: NCLH Leadership Shuffle, Marriott - Starwood Merger Moves Forward

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Leadership changes at Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, progress on the Marriott - Starwood merger and the close of travel events for Nexion and Signature Travel Network are the headlines to follow today in the travel industry. 

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Shuffles Brand Leadership

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, has made a number of changes to the leadership of its cruise brands. 

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Bob Binder has been named President and CEO of Oceania Cruises, in addition to his current role as vice chairman of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which he has held since 2011. Before that, Binder served as president of Oceania Cruises, where he oversaw the development and design of new Oceania ships and new restaurant concepts. Additionally, Andy Stuart, president of Norwegian Cruise line, and Jason Montague, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, will add the title of chief executive officer to their expanded roles with their respective brands, effective immediately. 

All three execs will oversee sales, marketing, passenger services and revenue management for each of their respective brands, as well as continue to drive the development of itineraries and onboard product. They will continue to report directly to NCLH President and CEO Frank Del Rio.

Marriott - Starwood Merger Gets China’s Antitrust Approval

In hotel news, Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood has cleared another regulatory hurdle after receiving antitrust approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). MOFCOM was the last regulatory agency needed to sign off on the merger, clearing the way for the two hotel companies to close the transaction. That’s expected to happen before the market opens on September 23. 

MOFCOM had extended the review of the merger back in August. When complete, the deal will create the world’s largest hotel company, with plans calling for the newly combined operation to keep all of its luxury hotel brands. Those include Ritz-Carlton, Bulgari, Edition and Autograph for Marriott and St. Regis, The Luxury Collection and W Hotels for Starwood. 

CDC Lifts Zika Travel Advisory for Wynwood in Miami, Florida

Meanwhile, some good news for Florida: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has lifted its travel advisory urging pregnant women to avoid Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood due to the Zika virus, The Washington Post reports. Wynwood, which is north of Miami’s downtown area, has not reported any new locally transmitted cases of the virus since early August, prompting officials to lift an earlier travel advisory. An advisory remains in effect for Miami Beach, which has been identified as the state’s other active zone of transmission. 

Nexion President Jackie Friedman and Nexion Canada President Mike Foster
Nexion President Jackie Friedman and Nexion Canada President Mike Foster

CoNexion 2016 Wraps With Awards for Top Travel Agents

Nexion brought its CoNexion 2016 to a close over the weekend with an event honoring the recipients of its “Circle of Excellence,” “MillionAir,” “Ambassador” and “Rising Star” awards for 2016. Nexion Vice President Robbi Hamida announced each of the major award winners during the final day of the conference on Saturday, which was held at the Loews Coronado Bay Hotel in San Diego, California.

Nexion agents Steve Lincoln and Diane Earman earned both Circle of Excellence and MillionAir awards. In all, 85 agents were inducted into Nexion’s Circle of Excellence, which recognizes top producers who achieved set goals for selling cruise and tour vacations using Nexion’s supplier partners. Additionally, Nexion honored 23 agents with its MillionAir award to recognize individuals who have personally achieved more than $1 million in airline sales during the course of the previous year (September 1, 2015-August 31, 2016). Two of Nexion’s new agents were honored as Rising Stars. Finally, three agents were honored with Ambassador Awards for embodying the spirit of Nexion, supporting Nexion’s programs and helping other agents succeed. Samantha Khalil won an Ambassador Award for delivering the highest sales volume through the pinSIGHT hotel booking engine, while Mike Edic was honored for having the highest combined ARC and non-ARC sales among agents who were not part of the Circle of Excellence or MillionAirs. Bill Tilburg won the third Ambassador Award based on nominations from his peers. 

The top 20 MillionAirs will get an all-expenses-paid trip to Cancun, Mexico, November 4-7, 2016, courtesy of hosts Nexion, Delta Air Lines and Delta Vacations, with Enterprise Holdings serving as a sponsor. Each winner will be able to bring a guest to enjoy an all-inclusive stay at Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun. The top 44 Circle of Excellence winners will be hosted by Travel Impressions and sponsored by Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Globus family of brands, AmaWaterways and Travel Guard at the IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, December 1-4.

Signature Travel Network Concludes Owners’ Meeting

Signature Travel Network also wrapped an event over the weekend, with its Owners’ Meeting drawing to a close on Saturday at the historic Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California. Here are some photos from the event: 

Palace Hotel, San Francisco
Palace Hotel, San Francisco
Signature's 2016/17 Board of Directors (left to right): Paul Coleman with Sun Travel, Marc Kazlauskas with FROSCH, Don Walker with WMPH Vacations, Jamie Jones with WhirlAway Travel Ltd., Steve Orens with Plaza Travel, Olga Placeres with Preferred Travel of Naples, Inc., Craig Hsu with Travel Design USA Inc., Eric Maryanov with All-Travel, Ryan Hansen with Bon Voyage Travel, Maegan Sonnier with Travel Machine and Carol Lekki with Carol's Travel Service & Cruise Center
Signature's 2016/17 Board of Directors (left to right): Paul Coleman with Sun Travel, Marc Kazlauskas with FROSCH, Don Walker with WMPH Vacations, Jamie Jones with WhirlAway Travel Ltd., Steve Orens with Plaza Travel, Olga Placeres with Preferred Travel of Naples, Inc., Craig Hsu with Travel Design USA Inc., Eric Maryanov with All-Travel, Ryan Hansen with Bon Voyage Travel, Maegan Sonnier with Travel Machine and Carol Lekki with Carol's Travel Service & Cruise Center
Keynote Speaker Jason Dorsey, CSO, The Center for Generational Kinetics
Keynote Speaker Jason Dorsey, CSO, The Center for Generational Kinetics
Left to Right: Peter Evans with Bon Voyage Travel, Karen Yeates with Signature Travel Network and Todd Elliott with Cruise Vacation Outlet
Left to Right: Peter Evans with Bon Voyage Travel, Karen Yeates with Signature Travel Network and Todd Elliott with Cruise Vacation Outlet
Left to Right: Alex Sharpe, Signature's president and CEO, Elaine Lerner with National Discount Cruise Co. and Uf Tukel with WMPH Vacations
Left to Right: Alex Sharpe, Signature's president and CEO, Elaine Lerner with National Discount Cruise Co. and Uf Tukel with WMPH Vacations
San Francisco City Hall - 60th Anniversary Celebration Dinner
San Francisco City Hall - 60th Anniversary Celebration Dinner
Alex Sharpe, Signature's president and CEO
Alex Sharpe, Signature's president and CEO
Left to Right: Betty Harmon with Conlin Travel, Inc., Carol Lehman with Destinations Unlimited, Ed and Denise Plog with Empress Travel & Cruises, Tommy Ryder with Travel Bound and Bob and Barbara Harmon with Harmon Travel
Left to Right: Betty Harmon with Conlin Travel, Inc., Carol Lehman with Destinations Unlimited, Ed and Denise Plog with Empress Travel & Cruises, Tommy Ryder with Travel Bound and Bob and Barbara Harmon with Harmon Travel

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