As we reported in April, David Morris, the former Silversea vice president of worldwide sales and marketing, was going off on his own and starting his own sales and marketing company, David Morris International. Of course, his long-time colleague and collaborator Marilyn Conroy, former senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Americas for Silversea, would be joining him.
Travel Agent caught up with Morris as he embarks on his new venture, one he's ruminated about for some time now. "Marilyn and I have been together for 25 years and it’s been our long-term goal to do something together," Morris says. "To have our own business."
Launching a new business in this precarious economy takes courage. "In the back of our mind, with the economy going south, perhaps the worst of times could be best of times," he says.
Of course, to do so he'd have to leave Silversea. Morris is still reticent to get into the specifics surrounding his departure from Silversea, though it's apparent that Silversea was looking to move into a different direction. "They wanted to move in a different direction," Morris says. "I saw an opportunity to move forward."
As it is, maybe its a good thing to be out of the supplier side of the business—at least for the time being. "You’ll see huge transitions," Morris says of the cruise industry. "Very radical changes will occur, lines could be sold."
David Morris International will upstart niche and luxury cruise lines who are looking to expand their sales and marketing reach. "There are a lot coming online now," Morris says, "and hitting the market at a precarious time. Can they afford a huge sales and marketing arm?" That's where Morris' company comes in. It also hopes to go after high-level national and international organizations such as fund-raising groups and non-profits, who can network their cause via cruise ships.
With the contacts and experience of Morris and Conroy it's hard to see how they could falter. "Companies already coming to us," Morris says. "We can provide anything they want."
Morris says the company is about 80 percent operational right now. It will have offices in Beverly Hills and New York City.