Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, hosted its second annual Land Symposium at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana in Dominican Republic.
The three-day workshop was organized for 150 Cruise Planners travel advisors and more than 45 suppliers. Special guests and keynote speakers included high-level executives from Apple Leisure Group, Trafalgar and ShoreTrips. Cruise Planners travel advisors received presentations on global destinations, escorted tours and all-inclusive resort vacations, as well as agent and preferred partner panel discussions on group sales and strategic marketing.
During the event Cruise Planners announced it was up 29 percent in land travel sales for 2019 over 2018, and for 2020 it’s already almost double that. While cruising continues to grow at a strong pace, the land sales part of the franchise network has outpaced the industry as a whole, the company said.
More highlights of the Cruise Planners Land Symposium included:
- Preferred Partner Round Tables: Advisors heard from more than 15 preferred land suppliers.
- Land Lubbers Panel Discussion: Hosted by Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, the panel included four Cruise Planner franchisees who are very successful selling land vacations, Cruise Planners said.
- Executive Presentation: Presented by Scott Wiseman, president of Apple Leisure Group, who provided sales suggestions that advisors could immediately implement.
- Keynote Presentation: Melissa da Silva, president of Trafalgar, who reviewed the current state of escorted tours.
- Featured Speakers: Julie and Barry Karp, president and founders of ShoreTrips, provided insights into how to customize trips and exceed customer expectations.
- Partner Presentations: Yankee Leisure Group/Amtrak Vacations and Railbookers explained how the resurgence of rail travel is an opportunity for Cruise Planners travel advisors.
- Sandals and Beaches Resorts: Brought the audience up to date on new elements they are providing customers.
- All-Inclusive and Escorted Tour Panels: Hosted by Laura Blanco, director of sales, Cruise Planners, the panels provided important differentiators between various brands and travel styles.
- One-on-One Breakout Sessions and Networking: Opportunities for both advisors and suppliers to build relationships and specific suggestions for increased sales
To support the brand’s CP Cares initiative, event goers were invited to bring in school supplies to support local children. More than 500 items were donated, including pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, chalk and calculators.
Last year’s inaugural Land Symposium was hosted at the all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos in Mexico, while next year’s event will be expanded and announced shortly, Cruise Planners said.