CruiseWorld Day 3, full of learning, but ending with sadness in Paris

Day three started off early again, although this time I managed to get 6 full hours of sleep, and actually woke up to my alarm instead of an hour or two before as I have been the first couple of days. So we all caught our shuttle from the B Ocean Hotel, and headed back to the Convention Center for the final day of CruiseWorld. The morning began with breakfast sponsored by Trisept Solutions, presenting their new CRM software. This sounds like a very good product, designed with travel agents in mind. I will likely take advantage of their trial offer of 2 free months when they officially launch December 1. As my business grows, I definitely need a more efficient way of managing profiles, reminders, payments, and invoices, and plenty more I haven’t realized yet I’m sure.

Breakfast was followed by the general session of the day, with a very cool panel of CEO/Presidents of most of the major cruise lines. We started with a conversation with Frank Del Rio of Norwegian Holdings, and learned about the integration of Oceania and Regent Seven Seas into the NCL portfolio. The presidents panel was fantastic. They discussed once again brand distinction and pushed the value message, meaning that we need to be selling their products on value, rather than on price. They anticipate prices rising as the demand grows, and the inclusions grow as well. They likened the industry to swim lanes, where each line is essentially offering a similar product at their core, but how different each experience is, and how each audience is quite different. Did you know only 3% of the population cruises each year in the U.S.? As people try it though, many become repeat cruisers, so the demand will continue to grow. They finished the panel with personal stories once again, and made them a little more like us. Of course, while we all try to sell all their products, each time we do, their pockets grow a little more each time. I can only imagine their salaries! Finally, we heard from a Disney brand manager about Disney vacations, and what all their different brands have to offer. The video they showed makes even the most non-Disney fan, wanting to go visit a Disney destination. I liken it to a cult, but not in a bad way (if that’s a thing). They hook you, and make you believe in their product, almost literally with “magic”. And they offer an excellent, nearly unparalleled product. Its different in so many ways, albeit not for everyone, but boy do they sure try!

Next up was a session about building your home based agency. I took away some decent information, although most of what I learned I already understood pretty well. I did walk away with some good tidbits like making sure my insurance is up to date, and to make sure my marketing plan is consistent with my business goals. Also, I realized I need to upgrade some of my home equipment, most notable a large monitor, and maybe a second one, especially for referring to a supplier page while emailing or working on something for a client.

After my home based class, I took Groups Boot Camp. This was another sponsored session, as most were. I did take away good information about how to develop a group plan, and attract the right group leaders. I also have a lot of good points to think about when it comes to what I can actually handle, and what is realistic in terms of expectations. Of course, each group is different, but I think I have some new tools to both market and sell groups.

Lunch followed, sponsored by Oceania with a good takeaway regarding top 5 best practices

  1. Qualify and upsell – be one step ahead and recommend Oceania
  2. Be everywhere – maintain ongoing communications and varied touch points
  3. Make a plan – set goals, create timeline – implement
  4. Specialize – Be selective
  5. Be proactive and responsive – first to market!

I think these are very good best practices to follow. They came from conversations with other agents and Oceania deciding what they needed to do to maintain relevance. It is a fantastic product under the premium distinction. I would love to sail Oceania though before I really try to sell it.

Oh, I won a 3 night all expense paid FAM trip to Mexico next month! I guess it’s a good thing I wont have a full time job anymore… although that creates a bit of additional anxiety, which I’d prefer not to think about at this exact moment. I am excited though to learn about selling all-inclusive resorts in Mexico. I’ll learn more about what I won next week though.

After lunch was my session social media. Essentially, what I took from this session was building relationships. Did you know it takes 63 contacts a year to attract and maintain a client? Use social media to your advantage, but don’t overuse, or everything gets lost.

Finally, my last class was writing and committing to a weekly newsletter. This session was very helpful, as I know I would like to write one each week, but I really wanted a good road map on how to do this effectively. So give me a few weeks, and you’ll start seeing my weekly newsletter, offering a short feature article, maybe some tips for traveling, and you’ll learn a little about me along the way!

My evening was spent participating in the Hunter Games, an event put on by Sunny.org, the visitors bureau for Fort Lauderdale. We spent the evening searching for clues all over the area, including traversing in water taxis, and finishing with a tasty dinner at a local seafood place. It started pouring as we finished dinner, so we got a little wet, but no worries! The event was a lot of fun, and even though my team didn’t win, we had fun finding clues, and learning a little about the city, and hanging out with other agents in the process.

Finally, we all got the news about Paris, so the afternoon was a bit subdued, with many agents checking on clients in the area, and helping those with trips planned in the coming days. Pure evil is the best word I heard to describe the tragic terrorist events. I cant imagine having that much hate in my heart. Prayers for everyone there and for the world as we attempt to rediscover peace in the world.                                                                                                                                 IMG_6569 IMG_6580

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