CLIA's World's Largest Cruise Night

Travel agents and agencies gathered to hear about special showcase offers made by CLIA's 25 members

By: By Marilyn Green

Three River Cruise Lines Participate

This year three river cruise lines, members of CLIA, participated in World’s Largest Cruise Night.

Avalon Waterways had its first year of participation and Jennifer Halboth, director of marketing for the Globus family of brands, commented, “The World's Largest Cruise night was Avalon Waterways' first official experience as a CLIA member and we couldn't be more thrilled with the results. Not only has CLIA proved to be a great, supportive partner, we witnessed a 170 percent increase in sales, year over year, on October 14th alone, and Avalon’s sales were up 130 percent for the week.”

Halboth added, “We have also been extremely impressed that so many CLIA agencies have embraced Avalon Waterways, giving our cruise line great visibility, in a short period of time. It's been wonderful to be a part of something that's good for the travel industry as a whole and CLIA's many partner lines.”

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection secured 154 bookings for the 2010 season related to WLCN. Uniworld’s offer of a $100 per person customer bonus offer yielded “great results,” the company said. “We secured a significant number of bookings for the 2010 season. Uniworld is extremely pleased with this outcome and we plan to participate in future CLIA initiatives,”

Rudi Schreiner, president, Amawaterways, stated, "This year's WLCN was extremely successful for Amawaterways. We actually took the concept a bit further by creating our own promotion that we named the "World's Largest River Cruise Sale." It definitely helped build up awareness about river cruising, and about the great product that we have to offer at Amawaterways.

“The timing of the promotion was excellent, in that it captured demand coming back into the market for cruise vacations. Overall, we were quite happy to be able to effectively promote our river cruise vacations with our travel agency partners under the CLIA banner.”

// © 2009 Worldview Travel

Worldview Travel World in Santa Ana, Calif., hosted An Evening of Yachts, Wine
and Mercedes-Benz.

During CLIA’s Oct. 14 World’s Largest Cruise Night, travel agents and agencies across North America generated an estimated $45.6 million in sales, up to 44,000 bookings and a potential $5.9 million in commissions with virtual events and live gatherings, cruise nights, cocktail parties, luncheons, etc.
WLCN, which provides a range of booking windows from mid-October into November, is designed to showcase special offers made by the 25 member cruise lines of CLIA and their thousands of travel agent partners throughout North America. In 2008, the event generated more than $40 million in cruise sales as vacationers jumped at the chance to save. In addition to a “Virtual WLCN,” where consumers can go online and obtain all the information they need on special offers, view videos and contact participating travel agents, special events were held on Oct. 14 at travel agencies around the country, and the CLIA Web site at had a locater for agencies and their events across North America.

CLIA reported that 1,309 agencies (a 19 percent increase over 2008) hosted physical, or traditional, WLCN events, for an estimated $21 million in sales. Nearly 2,800 agencies had virtual, or online, WLCN events or promotions during which consumers viewed 50,481 cruise line videos, for an estimated $24.6 in sales. Liberty Travel alone had one-day sales of 846 cabins, for a revenue of $2.4 million.

"We are beyond thrilled that travel agents have embraced World's Largest Cruise Night in record numbers this year,” said Bob Sharak, executive vice president, CLIA.

Virtually all of CLIA’s 25 member lines took part, offering agents special assistance, the opportunity to provide extra-value incentives to their clients in the form of discounts or shipboard credits and, in some cases, earn bonus commissions, and even a free cruise.
Suppliers offered special deals, co-op money and events of their own; among them Holland America Line held onboard WLCN events on all its ships, generating a 200 percent increase in commissionable revenue during the week of WLCN as compared to onboard sales efforts the week before.

• American Express teamed up with CLIA member agents by offering a $10 American Express-branded prepaid card when a booking of $1,700 or more was made with any American Express Card during the promotional booking window.

• Amawaterways offered savings up to $3,000 per stateroom on select cruise departures in 2009 and $1,300 per stateroom in 2010.

• American Cruise Lines provided a $50 bonus commission per stateroom for any new bookings deposited Oct. 14-28.

• Avalon Waterways guests who booked during October received 50 percent off airfare on all 2010 air-inclusive European river cruise vacations.

• Azamara Cruises offered onboard credits of $300-500 per staterooms for new FIT bookings on 2010 European sailings made Oct. 14-16.

• Carnival Cruise Lines awarded "Cash Back” of $70 to $200 per stateroom on bookings of selected 2010 voyages from a variety of North American homeports.

• Celebrity Cruises provided $50-200 per stateroom for new FIT bookings on selected sailings made October 14-16.

• Costa Cruises offered agents a $50 bonus commission on bookings between Oct. 14 and 31, along with a $50 onboard credit per cabin for guests on Caribbean and European sailings through Dec. 2010.

• Crystal Cruises gave vacationers a $100 per person discount on most 2009 and 2010 departures with bookings made between Oct. 14 and Nov. 7; in addition a free cruise onboard Crystal Serenity’s "Caribbean Getaway” departing Jan. 4, 2010 was offered to the agent with the most bookings.

• Cunard Line gave clients onboard credits of $50-$300 per stateroom, plus a waiver of the deposit on a second person in the booking.

• Disney Cruise Line provided $50-$100 onboard credit per stateroom on bookings made Oct. 14-28 for sailings between Jan. 3, 2010 and Dec. 19, 2010.

• Holland America Line gave special fares and reduced deposits to participating travel agents on a wide variety of destinations, including Alaska, the Caribbean and Europe.

• Hurtigriuten offered a "free companion” fare is offered for bookings on sailings departing October through December for selected Norwegian coastal cruises.

• MSC Cruises gave shipboard credits of up to $200 to guests booking selected sailings in the Caribbean on MSC Poesia.

• Norwegian Cruise Line furnished onboard credits ranging up to $250, plus half-off standard cruise deposits on more than 300 sailings around the world.

• Paul Gauguin Cruises offered a $100 per guest shipboard credit (maximum $200 per stateroom) for new bookings made between Oct. 14-31 for 2010 departures.

• Princess Cruises guests were offered an onboard value booklet valued at $120 as well as reduced $100 per person deposits on many sailings.

• Regent Seven Seas Cruises provided $100 per guest shipboard credits (maximum $200 per suite) for seven-night or longer cruises in 2009 and 2010 with bookings made between Oct. 1 and Nov. 14.

• Royal Caribbean International’s "Create Your Own Sale” event featured a choice for agent partners of up to $200 off per stateroom, onboard credits of up to $100 per stateroom, reduced deposits or special amenities for bookings on select departures made Oct. 12-16.

• Seabourn Cruise Line provided agents, upon request, with a $100 per booking bonus commission for bookings made during the Virtual WLCN period (Oct. 1-31).

• Seadream Yacht Club gave a $100 per stateroom spa credit for new bookings.

• Silversea Cruises provided a $100 per person savings certificate (maximum $200 per suite) for new bookings made Oct. 14-28 on seven-night or longer sailings in 2009 and 2010.

• Uniworld Boutique River Cruises allowed consumers to save up to $1,000 per person on 2010 Europe River Cruises by paying in full by Oct. 31. Participating agents were offered an additional $100 per person discount on all 2009 and 2010 Savings Offers for bookings made between Oct. 14-21.

• Windstar Cruises offered consumers participating in CLIA’s WLCN will receive a $50 per person shipboard credit for selected sailings on Wind Surf, Wind Star and Wind Spirit between January and March, 2010 through Nov. 9.

Among agents’ creative live events was Worldview Travel World of Santa Ana’s "An Evening of Yachts, Wine and Mercedes-Benz" partnered with The Yachts of Seabourn and held in the showroom of Mercedes-Benz of Laguna Niguel. The event was co-hosted by the Mercedes-Benz dealership and the Francis Ford Coppola Estate Winery, with sponsors including Neiman Marcus of Newport Beach, The Spa at South Coast Plaza, Tustin Ranch Golf Club and Bayside, Bistango and Kimera Restaurants.

The evening drew close to 400 VIP guests, leaving agents plenty of great qualified luxury leads to close over the following days. All of the co-hosts and sponsors rated the event a huge success, and the event was posted on You Tube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

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