As part of its ongoing commitment to Partnership 2.0, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced that it is realigning its North American sales team to provide better customer service to agents. Reporting to Andy Stuart, executive vice president, global sales and passenger services, the newly structured sales force is headed by Camille Olivere, vice president of sales, and includes four key areas of focus under four sales directors.
“The goal with this realignment is to optimize our resources and be smarter about how we reach and service our travel partners,” said Olivere. “We have just 10 percent of the industry’s capacity, but we have the challenge of having the same size customer base as the rest of the industry, so our resources really needed to be maximized for high performance.”
The four areas include online travel accounts, led by Alex Pinelo, who has worked in the cruise industry for 25 years, primarily with NCL; Strategic accounts, led by Joe Jiffo, who has been with NCL since 2000 and has more than 28 years of experience in the travel industry; Industry relations, led by Clark Reber, who has been with NCL since 1996 and has 19 years of experience in the travel industry; and field and inside sales, home-based and consortia led by Wayne Peyreau, who has been with NCL for 11 years and has been in the industry for 27 years.
The new inside sales team will work in conjunction with the realigned field sales team, along with a new automated customer relationship management database. Based in the company’s Miami headquarters, the team will provide more frequent and consistent points of contact with agents, helping them sell NCL cruises.
Also reporting to Stuart, Patrick Mitchell, vice president of global sales strategy and planning, will be adding resources in his focus on expanding the company’s charter, corporate meeting and incentive business.
“As part of Partnership 2.0, we wanted to ensure that our sales team was optimizing its resources to effectively support the travel partner channel and to work closely with them to not only service, but increase their business with us,” said Stuart. “We took a very thoughtful and strategic approach to this realignment, incorporating feedback from a travel partner survey we conducted which asked participants to rank the level of importance of attributes influencing their travel recommendations to their own customer base.”
NCL has also launched a new automated customer relationship management system that is integrated with the line’s reservation system. The system gives the sales team updated information and has the ability to identify customer trade preferences for promotional opportunities.
Since Partnership 2.0 was launched in late 2007, NCL has instituted more than 75 new programs and services for agents, including earlier processing of group commissions, a seven-day-a-week resolution desk, simplified and consistent pricing quotes, improved credit card policies, electronic payment processing, enhanced confirmations and more.
In February, the line launched its 21-page personalized "Welcome Aboard" booklet, a customized cruise guide featuring everything a guest needs to know in preparation for cruising with NCL. The booklet includes the name and number of the client’s travel agency, personalized luggage tags, a deck plan with the location of the guest’s staterooms and shore excursion information for the specific itinerary.
At the beginning of the year, the line introduced eight Webinars with top executives, including Stuart as well as president and CEO Kevin Sheehan. In a pre-Webinar survey of 1,500 agents, 92 percent said they had seen an improvement in the way the company does business since the inception of Partnership 2.0.