Written By: Mary Pat Sullivan – Travel Weekly Events
Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld has moved to a virtual event for 2020 due to a number of factors related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the event will look a bit different this year, the CruiseWorld team is confident that attendee participation will be no less valuable.
We still believe firmly in the power of connection. And we are dedicated to delivering on the quality educational content and the supplier and advisor connections that are staples of CruiseWorld. This virtual event will play an integral role in ensuring travel advisors have the tools and relationships they need to move into 2021 and towards recovery.
As in the past, CruiseWorld will be held over three full days, from November 11 to 13, 2020. The programming will include education, networking and engagement.
We’ve re-tooled the programming to be more accommodating to a virtual environment. Advisors will be offered short bursts of learning, more in-depth training, and interactive conversations. We know it is all about learning and sharing with each other and CruiseWorld will deliver on that.
General sessions will include conversations with cruise line CEOs Arnold Donald, Carnival Corporation & plc; Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean Group; Frank del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.; and Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises. There will even be opportunity for live Q&A with these leaders who will share insights and discuss the challenges the industry has faced during this pandemic. A record number of cruise line presidents will also take the virtual stage during CruiseWorld.
Sales and marketing professionals will share their Momentum Moments on a panel taking place Wednesday, November 11. Participants include: Katina Athanasiou, Chief Sales Officer, Norwegian Cruise Line; John Chernesky, Senior Vice President of North America Sales, Princess Cruises and Cunard Line; Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President, Sales and Trade Support & Service, Royal Caribbean International; Michelle Lardizabal, Senior Vice President & Commercial Sales Officer, MSC Cruises; Adolfo Perez, Senior Vice President, Global Sales and Trade Marketing, Carnival Cruise Line; Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President, Sales and Trade Support and Service, UK & APAC, Celebrity Cruises; Chris Austin, Senior Vice President, Seabourn.
We know travel advisors are craving interaction with their peers and wanting to share best practices. More than a dozen travel advisor peers will be among this year’s speakers. Each day will offer peer sessions where advisors can share success strategies in business skills, marketing, and customer development, and allow for idea exchange, questions and conversation. In addition, there will be Chill or Chat session time built in each day for you to exchange ideas and information with your peers in a video face-to-face environment. See the full speaker roster here.
A bonus to the virtual format is that many sessions will be recorded for viewing at a later date. Event content will be accessible only to registered CruiseWorld attendees through the end of 2020. The preliminary virtual event agenda can be viewed here.
The signature Exhibitor Showcase will remain a large component of the event. The new format allows for expanded access to supplier partners with Exhibitor Showcase access on both Thursday, November 12 and Friday, November 13th. Advisors can pre-schedule specific times to connect one-on-one or drop by a virtual booth to chat with representatives during the dedicated Exhibitor Showcase hours. A complete list of participating exhibitors can be found here.
Virtual ship inspection options with cruise line partners will replace the live inspections typically offered the weekend following the event.
Each year, CruiseWorld attracts about 1,000 travel advisors seeking new partners, updated content and education, and powerful networking opportunities. There are already hundreds of advisors registered for CruiseWorld with a larger audience anticipated for the virtual event due to the elimination of travel expenses. The STAR (Select Travel Advisor Recognition) Program is once again sold out.
There’s still an opportunity to participate in the virtual event. Advisors can register for CruiseWorld at a discounted rate of $75 when they use code HBTA at checkout. Head to www.cruiseworldshow.com for more information or to register.