As Port Everglades gears up to welcome 3.3 million passengers in 2010, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) has unveiled a "We Love Cruisers" program that provides incentives for agents and a gift of beach and destination-related items for clients. Agents who book pre- or post-cruise stays of two or more nights during October 2009— National Cruise Vacation Month— will receive a $25 American Express gift card from the GFLCVB.
Agents need only submit the hotel confirmation number to the GFLCVB to receive their card. Gift cards will be awarded to the agent upon completion of the booked stay.
As for clients, they'll happily find a colorful beach starter kit waiting in their room upon arrival. The kit contains a welcome beach towel and flip flops, along with two Cruise and Play VIP cards. The card may be used for complimentary admission to one of Fort Lauderdale's leisure attractions or activities.
Nicki Grossman, president and CEO, GFLCVB, told reporters at cruise3sixty in Fort Lauderdale on Friday that cruising is no longer viewed as "competition" by land-based tourism entities in her destination. Now, she said, everyone realizes this is one travel industry and that the phenomenal growth of cruising from Port Everglades benefits the destination. She would like, however, to move the needle 5 percent higher in the coming year when it comes to bookings of pre- and post-cruise stays.
Besides the new cruise incentive program, Grossman said the GFLCVB plans a co-op marketing program that also will benefit agents this year. Details will be announced later this spring, but Grossman said it will entail advertising opportunities on the GFLCVB site, work with Cruise Planners, and travel trade advertising.
Separately, Grossman urged agents to utilize two other destination programs to promote pre- and post-cruise stays. They include Spa Chic, running in September with discount spa packages, and Dine Out Lauderdale, running from October 1 to November 14 with three-course fixed prixe menus at 35 top restaurants.
For more information on the new incentive program for agents, visit www.sunny.org/traveltrade.