Agents, Lines Welcome Dickinson’s Return

 

Bob Dickinson is onboard as Carnival Corp. consultant.

 

 

In a move generally praised by travel agents, Carnival Corporation has hired Bob Dickinson, former president and CEO, Carnival Cruise Lines, as a consultant to examine relationships between the Carnival Corporation brands—Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line—and the travel distribution system.

Agents visiting Travel Agent’s Facebook page commented about the candor and strong management perspective that Dickinson brings to the situation. At a recent press conference, we asked Howard Frank, vice chairman and CEO, Carnival Corporation, about Dickinson’s new role.

Will individual brands adopt what Dickinson uncovers and the ideas he develops, per the parent company’s wishes? Or, will the entire process be more voluntary—letting the individual brands make that decision?

Not surprisingly, given the corporate personality of Carnival Corporation, it appears that the brands will work with Dickinson, seek ways to find new perspective, listen to his advice and build on any research results, but any decisions for implementing new policies or programs will be up to the brands. Frank told us that he didn’t think the process or how the relationship will work has been fully vetted yet. He made it clear, however, that he’s fully supportive of what Dickinson brings to the table in marketing expertise and in his abilities to evaluate and initiate research, and use that in helping the brands enhance their relationships with the agency community.

He said that he’d been thinking of Dickinson in such a consulting role for some time. Dickinson recently left the Carnival Corp. board, making the new consulting gig a good option. Frank said the position evolved from the brands themselves, making it clear that the individual brands value Dickinson’s advice and counsel.

When asked about Dickinson’s role in impacting Princess’ agent policies and relationships, Jan Swartz, Princess’ executive vice president, sales, marketing and customer services, praised Dickinson’s strong reputation within the industry and with agents, and said her organization will “take advantage” of his expertise and listen to his ideas.

Frank indicated that the parties would be meeting over the next few weeks to formulate the best way to move forward. One thing is sure, though, Frank said with enthusiasm: “Bob lives this business.”

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