Carnival Cruise Line is expanding its yearlong “Why Use a Travel Advisor” (WUATA) program with a new website, WUATA.com, a WUATA brochure and an exclusive WUATA Facebook page.
Travel Agent spoke with Adolfo Perez, Carnival's senior vice president, sales and trade marketing, who told us that the Facebook page, found at Facebook.com/CCLWUATA, will be interactive and that John Heald, the line’s cruise brand ambassador and veteran cruise director (with a humongous social media following), will put it on his Facebook page as well and “hopefully we’ll get a lot of consumers that way.”
What will consumer see on the new Facebook WUATA page? Look for tips and facts “such as why using a travel agent is better than booking it on your own,” plus it will have videos taken at the recent WUATA Party in Orlando, which was attended by about 325 people. Travel agents brought an existing client, plus another person who was not necessarily an agency client.
The line is currently editing those videos, shot pre-event, in which Perez interviewed advisors and Carnival Diamond and Platinum repeat guests about how they met their travel agent and why they enjoy working with a travel advisor. Excited to see the videos, Perez says they’re “real testimonials” from consumers who use trade professionals and like working with one – “it saves time, they get me better deals, they do all this stuff for me for free” and about how the agent made the trip special. The videos will be posted on both Facebook and WUATA.com.
In addition, he says additional videos will be shot at upcoming WUATA Parties scheduled for Toronto at The Warehouse on July 24; for New Jersey/New York on September 18 at the Liberty House Restaurant on Liberty Island, an event for which the line is inviting the heads of some of the bigger travel agency accounts; and in the Los Angeles area on October 23 in Pasadena. The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) are co-sponsoring those events. John Heald, who attended the Orlando WUATA Party, also will be at the one in New Jersey/New York, and another cruise director will participate in the other parties.
The website, WUATA.com, will include CLIA and ASTA research about why consumers should book with a travel advisor; client testimonials; a link to the enhanced Carnival Travel Agent Finder; and the WUATA Contest, where clients can nominate their agent to compete to be Carnival’s “Most Trusted Travel Advisor.” Perez tells us that, so far, more than 2,400 people have submitted testimonials to nominate their travel agent as part of the contest, which launched in May.
The WUATA brochure will aim to promote the value of travel advisors in a multipage format that agents can share with clients to help close sales. A digital version of the WUATA brochure will be available on WUATA.com and advisors can order print copies on GoCCL.com starting July 1.