Carnival Cruise Lines has teamed with a New Jersey-based technology
company and travel agent Web portal Mailpound.com to offer an
online booking system that lets agents make real-time bookings on
Carnival Fun Ship specials listed on Mailpound.
REZConnect Technologies of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., developed the
booking system, launched this month. A registered agent clicks a
Book It button next to Mailpound's Carnival specials and completes
a reservation form that is submitted electronically to a Carnival
agent, who checks availability, provides a confirmation number and
sends the information back to the agent.
The agent and cruise line communicate with one another in real
time, using an instant messenger-style Java program that
automatically pops up on the agent's computer screen once the
booking process begins.
Mailpound indexes supplier specials and makes them available
free of charge to agents, who can customize the specials with their
agencies' contact information and forward them to clients via
e-mail or fax.
Of the approximately 350 suppliers that post their specials on
Mailpound, Carnival is "far and away the leader as far as number of
promotions per month," said Bill Oberiter, Mailpound vice president
of sales. At press time, the cruise line had nearly 150 national
and regional specials listed on the site.
Carnival is the first major vendor to use the new technology,
said REZConnect President and CEO Michael Brent, adding that
Mailpound counts approximately 58,000 agents in North America as
The purpose of the partnership is to streamline the process of
booking Carnival cruises. With the new system, Brent said, agents
can make bookings "in seconds, rather than many minutes" over the
phone. Confirming availability using the real-time chat system can
be done in as little as 15 seconds, he said.
Adolfo Perez, Carnival vice president of reservation sales,
hailed the immediacy of the system's Java-based interaction between
agents and Carnival. If a special has expired or sells out, he
noted, the Carnival res agent can quickly suggest similar packages
or alternate dates.
Though the initial use of the REZConnect technology relates only
to Carnival's Fun Ship specials, Perez said the technology
eventually would be rolled out for all Carnival specials posted on
In addition to the Carnival announcement, Brent said REZConnect
Technologies is developing Vacation Wizard, a similar product
designed to facilitate the sale of tour operators' escorted and FIT
Brent added that one of the major GDSs is in talks with
REZConnect to integrate its real-time chat technology into the
GDS's Web platform.
REZConnect is no stranger to the agency sales channel: It
operates the Travel Network agency franchise chain, which includes
brick-and-mortar shops and in-store locations at Wal-Mart
Supercenter stores nationwide.