Written By: Mary Pat Sullivan, Content Director – Travel Weekly Events
As we get into gear for Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld 2020, attendees from our 2019 event continue to share success stories about how their businesses have changed as a result of their participation.
Networking, attending workshops and ship inspections, hearing from industry leadership, and meeting with suppliers at the exhibitor showcase all provide unique insights and help motivate and create new relationships and sales ideas. Many travel advisor attendees say this event has helped them break out of their sales comfort zone, make dozens of new supplier relationships, and expand their supplier roster and product offerings for their customers.
For some attendees, networking and meeting new suppliers has resulted in the opportunity to test out supplier offerings themselves! Dee Dee Bradford, Gateway Travel and Cruises, met Riviera River Cruises during the Exhibitor Showcase last year and the rest is history. “Barbara Sergeant from Riviera invited me on a FAM to see the Christmas markets in Europe. It was a great trip! Now she is coming to Colorado to do a cruise night with us in early March. I hope to get a group together to be able to sell her wonderful product.”
For Angela Grigar, of Northcutt Travel Agency, coming back two years in a row made a big difference. She attended CruiseWorld for the second time in 2019. “I connected with multiple suppliers, but one huge advantage was learning how to organize my business for my clients. I was able to have a very successful January. I have only been in the industry for three-and-a-half years and I closed out the month with $108K. That’s double the previous year. CruiseWorld is an amazing event and I can’t wait to attend this fall.”
This year CruiseWorld is making its debut in Miami! The event will be held November 11-13, with ship inspection opportunities November 14-15 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
“After a long history of being based in Fort Lauderdale, we’re excited to be moving CruiseWorld to the busiest cruise port in the nation,” said Alicia Evanko-Lewis, Senior Vice President, Events, Northstar Travel Group. “Greater Miami and The Beaches has so much to offer our audience.”
CruiseWorld’s travel advisor audience represents all levels of experience, from beginners to seasoned veterans. Supplier companies from all facets of the industry, including air, attractions, cruise, transportation, hotels and resorts, professional services, tour operators and destinations, are in attendance.
Having such a variety of suppliers has been of great value to travel advisors. “I met the BEST Italy vendor at CruiseWorld: Select Italy,” said Mary Beth Perini, Dream Vacations. “I’ve been working with them on an amazing two-week trip for a family. It’s close to a $20k booking and the rep has been so attentive and knowledgeable. There are so many Italy vendors out there, but I’m so glad to have met this particular vendor at the Exhibitor Showcase at CruiseWorld. This was a definite win for me!”
Getting to meet with some of the smaller suppliers was of value to Karen Schinke, Chocolate City Travel. “I met someone from Katarina Line and had a customer interested in Croatia. I sent them some information and it worked out perfectly. CruiseWorld is a great show!”
There is no shortage of satisfied travel advisors walking away from CruiseWorld with a renewed passion for the industry and desire to amplify their business in the months following the event. “As a result of my interviews and social interactions at CruiseWorld in 2019, I was able to put together my Small Ship Cruising Expo this year in Denver,” said Mitch Krayton, Krayton Travel. “Thank you CruiseWorld for allowing me up-front and personal interactions with key industry executives that will make our travel businesses grow.”
To soar even further, travel advisors should consider applying for CruiseWorld’s Select Travel Advisor Recognition (STAR) Program. The STAR Program is structured to provide intense customized event programming while offsetting some of the financial expenses incurred by travel advisors to attend professional development events. CruiseWorld STARs receive VIP treatment and are provided with exclusive programming and networking opportunities to maximize their onsite experience. Learn more about the program at www.cruiseworldshow.com/star.
Cruiseworld will include certification programs, peer training sessions, supplier training, a 150+ supplier Exhibitor Showcase, networking events, ship inspections and sponsored meals and events. Registration for the event will open in the spring of 2020. Interested travel advisors can fill out the form on the website now to be notified when the registration officially opens.