The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is inviting all its member travel agencies and agents to boost their cruise sales dramatically by participating in World's Largest Cruise Night (WLCN), the industry's single largest promotion of the year and centerpiece of National Cruise Vacation Month. This year, the date is October 13 and registration for participation begins August 3.
"World's Largest Cruise Night is a proven success and, as the economy continues to strengthen and consumers become more confident about spending, WLCN is the best way to grab their attention," said Bob Sharak, CLIA's executive vice president. "We urge all our members to plan now and sign up and welcome agents who are not yet CLIA members to sign up and take advantage of WLCN and the many other benefits of membership."
Whether it's for a "bricks and mortar" special agency event, a month-long online promotion, or both, WLCN heightens awareness of cruising, attracts new customers and improves an agency's bottom line, CLIA reports. And this year, with enhanced and expanded agency WLCN microsites, extensive marketing materials and a streamlined sign-up process, it is easier than ever to reap the rewards.
WLCN has grown larger every year. In 2009, it generated more than $45 million in cruise sales and almost $6 million in travel agent commissions. Nearly 50,000 consumers attended physical WLCN cruise events held by a record 1,309 participating agencies. The events were diverse and held in travel agency offices, hotel ballrooms, restaurants, luxury car dealerships, convention centers, even comedy clubs.
For example, World View Travel in Southern California teamed up with Seabourn Cruise Line, Francis Ford Coppola Estate Winery, Mercedes-Benz of Laguna Niguel and other partners to host "An Evening of Yachts, Wine and Mercedes-Benz" at the car dealer showroom. Close to 400 VIP guests showed up and Seabourn later reported 140 new bookings because of WLCN.
Nearly 2,800 agencies participated in virtual WLCN promotions in 2009, sending e-mail invitations to consumers inviting them to visit their customized WLCN website with cruise line videos, agency contact information and special offers. It is estimated that consumers viewed 50,481 WLCN cruise line videos.
This year, with a whole new look and feel to the virtual program, agents may participate throughout the month of October, through their very own microsite, for free, with greater functionality than ever before, including the option to present as many as seven cruise line videos as well as expanded space for sales messages, agency logos and photos which agents can upload.
Agencies planning to host both a physical event and a virtual promotion can sign up online for both at one time. To view WLCN tutorial videos on CLIA Vision go to www.cruising.org/clia-vision/clias-worlds-largest-cruise-night
In order to register, gather promotional materials and get more information about WLCN, agents should visit www.cruising.org/travelagents where they will find everything they need. There are descriptions and advice about possible special event ideas ranging from book store parties and corporation presentations to educational seminars, dance parties, events at golf and tennis clubs and cruise reunions.
There are links to advertising and public relations techniques, a guide to attracting new clients and easy instructions for creating an agency WLCN microsite. Agents may also obtain a wealth of marketing materials at the site, including press release shells, postcard and flyer templates, logos and other marketing assistance. Visit www.cruising.org.