When three of the five previously scheduled in-person Regional Trainings by Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. were canceled as a result of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the headquarters team reschedule those events in a virtual environment. As a result, the home-based travel agencies launched a series of two-day live Virtual Regional Trainings, the first of which was hosted the last week of May with more than 250 attendees. Additional Virtual Regional Trainings are scheduled for July and August.
Drew Daly, general manager and SVP of Dream Vacations CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., hosted the events, which started each morning with a general session consisting of presentations from the corporate headquarters team, including co-CEO and chairman Brad Tolkin and SVP of product and operations David Crooks. In addition, COO Debbie Fiorino, VP of IT Sandi Szalay, VP of operations Joelle Delva and VP of Cruises Inc. Sean Tolkin participated on a Leadership Team panel, which allowed attendees to ask anything that was on their mind.
In the afternoon, nearly 20 cruise and land suppliers hosted interactive breakout sessions. Highlighted speakers included Royal Caribbean International’s SVP of sales, trade support and service Vicki Freed and Celebrity Cruises’ SVP of sales, trade support and service Dondra Ritzenthaler. Another highlight was the “all-advisor” panel, which had four travel advisors sharing their business-building tips during this pandemic. All sessions were recorded, so those who were unable to attend or missed a session were able to benefit from this training.
In addition to the creation of the Virtual Regional Trainings, the training and events team added a record-breaking number of training modules to its Learning Center, an online learning management system, and hosted nearly 100 webinars since mid-March that are experiencing a 252 percent increase in engagement.