Cruise West, the Seattle-based small-ship line that eliminated its
outside sales staff earlier this year, has launched a Web site to
provide electronic travel agent support.
“This is the primary method of taking our message to the travel
agent community,” said Jerre Fuqua, Cruise West’s vice president of
marketing, sales and reservations.
The site went live Aug. 27, and Cruise West hoped for 300 agent
registrations the first week. Instead, they received more than
1,500 by Sept. 9.
A $50 bonus commission coupon is given to new registrants and
payable upon completion of the first booking.
The agent-only site www.cruisewestagents.com recognizes
registered agents and includes information that pertains to the
agent’s consortium or group, whether it’s AAA, Virtuoso or LTG, for
The site includes many marketing tools, including a basic
marketing plan for a simple promotion, sales tips on targeting
Cruise West prospects, and ways to order brochures, shells,
postcards, videos, even stuffed bears outfitted to reflect a
The site allows agents to customize postcards and shells for 10
cents per piece and a setup fee of $25 to $35. Agents can write
their own message on the postcard or use Cruise West’s prepared
copy. Agency or consortium logos can also be added.
Agents also can sign up for Cruise West’s Small-Ship Partners
certification program or the new Bookings Earn Added Rewards (BEAR)
BEAR allows agents to group departure dates of the same
itinerary in order to achieve bonus levels more quickly.
Another section gives information on Cruise West fam trips.
One of the newer technological features of Cruise West’s site is
“It’s live and it’s interactive,” Fuqua said. “Now we can
schedule a number of training seminars specifically for AAA or
Virtuoso or the agent community at large. All agents need is a
high-speed Internet connection and a telephone. We can stream the
content to them and they can ask questions in real time, just as if
a DSM was standing at the head of the class.”