Loose Lips Don’t Sell Ships

Ken Shapiro Last month, I attended CLIA’s Cruise3Sixty event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. You can read about the conference on our home page at TravelAgeWest.com, and in Cruise Editor Ana Figueroa’s cover story “CLIA at the Helm” (page 16). Of course, CLIA is an important group for agents, but at the show I w

By: Ken Shapiro

Last month, I attended CLIA’s Cruise3Sixty event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. You can read about the conference on our home page at TravelAgeWest.com, and in Cruise Editor Ana Figueroa’s cover story “CLIA at the Helm” (page 16). Of course, CLIA is an important group for agents, but at the show I was most impressed by the organization’s bold and innovative approach to educating agents and the public at large about the positive aspects of cruising. At this time in particular, the cruise industry can use a strong advocate countering some of the recent negative publicity.

As part of CLIA’s effort to expose agents to the latest trends in the industry, the General Sessions at Cruise3Sixty featured panels and one-on-one interviews with top cruise-line executives. Overall, these sessions were very informative and effectively covered a wide range of topics; however, there were occasions when the executives got a little nasty with their comments and once or twice it got really out of hand.

This was the case when one panelist made a sarcastic remark to another executive regarding George Smith, the newlywed who disappeared from a recent cruise.

After this comment, there was an audible gasp from the Cruise3Sixty agents. Like a lot of people, I spent the rest of the conference shaking my head in disbelief at such a negative and very public outburst.

It’s one thing to poke fun at one of your competitors, but it’s entirely another thing to sling hurtful and negative comments in a public forum that could potentially affect an entire industry, especially at this time of heightened media scrutiny.

So, men and women of the cruise industry, let’s do our best to keep the comments supportive, because it’s the right thing to do, and it’s also the best thing for business. K.S.

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