Bob Sharak, Billy McDonough (president of Liberty Travel) and a Liberty Travel agent celebrating World's Largest Cruise Night at a Liberty Travel location in New York // (c) 2010 CLIA
CLIA member cruise lines and travel agencies reported an expected $47-plus million in sales (compared to last year’s $45 million) resulting from World’s Largest Cruise Night (WLCN) events on October 13 and virtual promotions throughout October. The business generated over $6 million in potential commissions.
Consumers across North America responded strongly to the event, according to Bob Sharak, CLIA’s executive vice president, marketing and distribution.
“This is a strong signal that the innovative vacation experiences and remarkable value offered by the cruise lines, combined with the marketing and promotional efforts of CLIA member travel agencies results in a successful sales formula,” said Sharak.
CLIA agents reported that over 50,000 consumers attended physical WLCN cruise events held by a record 1,432 agencies this year. The events were diverse and held in travel agency offices, hotel ballrooms, restaurants, corporate offices and other venues. The CLIA travel agent survey indicates that agencies offering physical WLCN events have already generated, or anticipate generating, a total of 21,475 bookings for an estimated $26 million in sales, potentially yielding more than an estimated $3 million in travel agency commissions. More than 95 percent of agents who had registered to participate actually did so.
The Virtual WLCN option, introduced in 2007, was expanded into a month-long opportunity this year and nearly 3,200 agencies participated in 2010. Agents surveyed projected more than 19,000 bookings and nearly $21 million in actual and future sales as a result of the leads and contacts generated through four weeks of Virtual WLCN participation.
According to participating CLIA travel agencies, CLIA’s 2010 online and traditional WLCN events combined are projected to generate nearly 41,000 bookings and $47 million in sales, resulting in a more than $6 million in potential travel agency commissions.
Along with the immediate profits, agents indicated that they have typically seen incremental sales in the weeks following the event, and that special promotions and appearances by cruise line representatives gave them heightened presence in their communities.