“National Plan a Cruise Month” offers several incentives for travel agents and consumers, including discounts on sailings and onboard spending money. // © 2015 iStock
Feature image (above): Cruise Lines International Association’s National Plan a Cruise Month will take place throughout the month of October. // © 2015 iStock
Not so long ago, the cruise industry’s “wave season” at the beginning of the year was the time when bookings were predictably at their most intense, and the health of the industry for the year was predicted by its success.
Times have changed. First the luxury sector, then others, saw less emphasis on the wave season. Promotional periods such as Cruise Week, which started as National Cruise Vacation Week, created other spurts of incentives and promotions. Onboard bookings received much more emphasis and further spread out the pace of business. River cruising, with its heavy demand, set up new booking patterns, and the increasingly global cruise market created a number of differing patterns of demand.
Now, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has declared October “National Plan a Cruise Month,” with a multidimensional campaign that features outstanding offers from suppliers and incentives for both agents and consumers. Promotions of the campaign, themed “Falling in Love with Cruising,” include offers ranging from $1,500 off per couple on a popular river cruise to free upgrades, onboard spending money and even signature beverage packages valued at $1,400. To take advantage of such offers, consumers are instructed to find a CLIA-certified cruise specialist [LINK IN TEXT TO: cruising.org/cruise-vacationer/plan-a-cruise/clia-agent-finder].
Additionally, CLIA is bringing more attention to cruise vacations during October with the #CruiseSmile sweepstakes, a chance to win one of 31 cruise vacations from 23 different cruise lines, awarded each day from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31. Every day, anyone can enter by submitting a photo featuring a “cruise smile” to CruiseSmile.org or posting their cruise smile on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #CruiseSmile and #Sweepstakes. Participants will have the opportunity to share their posts for more chances to win.
CLIA has launched a tool kit to help travel agencies and agents promote the campaign, available to CLIA-member travel professionals at Cruising.org. It includes a customizable press release that agencies can send to local media, customizable posts for social media site, email templates to be personalized and sent to prospects and details about special deals and promotions.
“CLIA and the cruise industry never lose sight of the fact that our success is directly tied to the travel agent community,” said Cindy D’Aoust, acting CEO for CLIA.