"Outwit, Outlast, Outplay" Defines Cruise Planners' Virtual Conference

“Outwit, Outlast, Outplay” is the proactive theming of this week’s first virtual Cruise Planners conference. More than 2,200 franchise owners and travel advisors are watching programming that takes its forward-thinking, assertive approach from the popular TV series, “Survivor.”

Michelle Fee, CEO and founder, and Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner, are hosting the programming, along with technology, sales, marketing, training and other Cruise Planners leaders. Since Monday, they've announced new tools, provided tidbits on positive steps taken and hosted panel discussions featuring cruise line, all-inclusive resort and other travel supplier executives.

They’ve also laid out what’s been accomplished this year, what’s next and where the opportunities are. Among the highlights?

FCC Redemption

Right now, Cruise Planners’ trade sellers are posting a 55 percent redemption rate of Future Cruise Credits (FCCs) which is above the industry average. Helping is a new FCC Management Tool, which email campaigns to clients holding an FCC from a specific vendor and assists advisors in tracking their redemption rate.

Live, All-Inclusive Resort Booking Capability

This past summer, Cruise Planners launched the All-Inclusive Resort System, which gave franchise owners and advisors the ability to search and filter through hundreds of all-inclusive resorts to find the right one for a client.

In first quarter 2021, this will become an even more robust tool as advisors will be able to make live bookings for those resorts in CP Maxx.

CP Mobile Updates

While Cruise Planners has always had a mobile app for clients to communicate with their travel advisors, store information about past and future trips, and other tasks, new enhancements are being made to the client-facing CP Mobile App.

Updates include a new home screen, an all-inclusive resort system, an escorted tour search, a Viator search, viewing and managing favorite travel/cruise experiences and more.

New Partner Rating System

Also launching in the first quarter of 2021 is the new Partner Rating System. It’s designed to allow advisors to share information on suppliers—whether their own experiences or their clients’ experiences.

Advisors will submit ratings about the supplier based on five different points—overall experience, service, entertainment, dining/food quality and family-friendliness. Advisors can also leave a written review. The star ratings will be visible to the advisor network through the CP Partner Hub.

New Task Manager

Cruise Planners' is launching a new Task Manager tool that will eliminate the need for “sticky notes” pasted around the office or complex spreadsheets. Instead, the new technology will allows advisors at any time throughout their quoting, booking or servicing process to create a task to help them stay organized, follow-up and manage efficiency.

Each day, the advisor will see a list of tasks that need to be completed, and they can be marked off as completed. For example, if a booking is made, Task Manager will automatically create tasks related to that booking for the advisor, so they don’t forget any follow-up tasks.

Not only is it designed to be more efficient, but Cruise Planners’ Home Office believes that it will elevate the advisor’s “high-touch service levels,” helping lead to repeat business and more referrals.

New Care Team

The Care Team will be a newly created, one-stop-shop within Cruise Planners’ Home Office Team, so Cruise Planners franchise owners or advisors who provide one phone number and email can easy talk to the corporate group about any issue or question. No longer will advisors need to decide which department to contact or where best to send an inquiry email.

A new Care Team advocate will take the advisor’s issue or question, resolve that or escalate the issue internally, if need be. The Care Team advocate will take responsibility for the advisor’s inquiry until it’s resolved.

Currently, Cruise Planners has already combined the two highest volume departments into the Care Team—the business development inbound team and the IT Help Desk. The trade group plans to continue to add other departments to the Care Team throughout the first quarter 2021.

Stay tuned tomorrow for highlights of a cruise line executive panel discussion from the Cruise Planners conference.  

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