Terri Burke, managing director for Avalon Waterways // © 2016 Avalon Waterways
Feature image (above): Agents who become certified Avalon specialists and book three cruises per year can win a European cruise. // © 2016 Avalon Waterways
Avalon Waterways has announced the appointment of two travel industry veterans to new positions with the upcoming retirement of managing director Patrick Clark, who ushered Avalon through more than a decade.
Pam Hoffee, who has worked with the company’s land product for years, will lead Avalon’s operations as chief product and operations officer for its parent company, the Globus Family of Brands. Terri Burke will be in charge of Avalon’s sales, marketing and promotional efforts as managing director.
“Patrick must be grinning from ear to ear,” Burke quipped. “It’s taking two women to cover all he did.”
Burke has been working with Avalon for five years, in charge of overall national accounts for all four Globus brands, and she says relishes the prospect of working with the broader agency community. She says she hit the ground running in early November, enjoying an overwhelming welcome at a trade show from travel agents eager to congratulate her.
“It feels like what I’ve been working toward all along,” she said.
Burke was an agent for 22 years before moving to the supplier side of the industry with Holland America Line and Norwegian Cruise Line; she also worked with Cruise Planners/American Express. She says her goal is to demystify the differentiating factors at Avalon and teach agents how to identify the right customers for the company.
“My mantra is ‘training,’” she said. “I have launched three online universities, and I firmly believe that you have to know more than the customers; you have to give them something they couldn’t get on the internet.”
Burke points out that Avalon certification not only gives agents in-depth knowledge, but also a visible sign of expertise. And under the Sail 3, Travel Free program, agents who become Avalon Waterways Specialists and book three paid-in-full cruises in a calendar year can sail free on a seven-night European cruise among select itineraries such as Magnificent Europe, Essential Holland & Belgium and Burgundy & Provence.
Specialists also can take advantage of Suite Rewards incentives for access to specialty-priced river cruises in Europe and Asia: $500 for seven nights; $900 for 12 nights; and $1,400 for 14 nights.