Last year, Windstar Cruises launched Star Promise, a new program designed to help travel agents increase sales and book more efficiently. Since then, the small ship line says that it has successfully made travel agents’ jobs easier to sell and manage client vacations. Windstar says that group business has doubled under the new program.
The Star Promise initiative focuses on four key concepts to improve both agent and client experiences.
Extraordinary Guest Experiences
The line has added to its available guest experiences including the popular James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection themed program and exclusive cruise partnership. The line has also added new cruise destinations including Asia, Alaska, Canada, and New England and is plans on opening bookings for all destinations further out so agents and their clients can plan ahead. The line has also Star Collector voyages so that agents can more easily book back-to-back clients. In addition, complimentary daily laundry for guests was added on all sailings in order to close the sale for agents.
Fresh Sales Tools and Support
The redesigned Agent Hub is where agents can find sales promotions, company news, training tools, and other resources as well as access to bookWindstar Online, the brand-new booking tool for agents available 24/7. The Star Groups program has offered a variety of benefits including increased discounts and a new, more profitable tour conductor policy of 1:7 or 1:9, depending on dates. When agents include Windstar in their marketing programs, they receive an exclusive value-added offer in the form of a shipboard credit for the agency. Windstar Sales also launched a Facebook page for travel agent news and engagement.
Windstar launched an updated online Star Specialist travel agent training program, which has made it easier to find out more about Windstar and is offering more webinars allowing agents to keep up with the brand as well as interact with senior management. The company launched new fam experiences on board with more than 500 travel professionals taking advantage in the last year Trade Winds, is the new agent newsletter covering a variety of Windstar news including selling tips and product news developed specifically for the agent audience.
The company recently launched bookWindstar Online, a new online booking tool that allows agents to make and access bookings anytime, anywhere. In addition, former travel agent and agency head George Howell will now head up the Guest Services division.