Cruise Planners Talks Luxury at First-Ever Luxury Forum

Michelle Fee Frank Del Rio Cruise Planners Luxury Forum Editorial Use Only Photo Courtesy of Cruise Planners
Michelle Fee (found and CEO of Cruise Planners) and Frank Del Rio (President and CEO Norwegian Cruise Line) Photo Courtesy of Cruise Planners

Cruise Planners, the nation’s largest home-based travel professionals network, recently hosted their first Luxury Travel Forum in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The event was in response to an increase in travelers booking luxury vacations through travel advisors. 

More than 130 travel professionals attended the event to hear about the travel trends, tips, and tools. 

Keynote speaker, Frank J. Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. encouraged travel professionals to book higher-end travel because of the dividends. “You can sell one luxury cruise and make the same commission as you would selling ten mass market cruises at ten times the work," he said.  

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Edie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Crystal Cruises also spoke as well as representatives from Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Seabourn, Abercrombie & Kent, Micato Safaris, Tauck, Viking Cruises, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Marriott International Luxury Brands. 

Key points included:

Luxury Sales on the Rise: Sales for luxury travel have increased 35 percent this year within the Cruise Planners Network. In turn, travel professionals end up with higher commission. 

Best Practices from Top Producers: A trend throughout the event was encouraging travel professionals to involve themselves in the luxury market as a business opportunity to serve the high end clients.

Cruise Planners New Luxury E-newsletter: Cruise Planners recently launched a luxury specific e-newsletter designed to for higher-end travelers by focusing on destinations and travel brand value instead of pricing. According to the company, this has already generated hundreds of new luxury vacations.

Demographic Data: Cruise Planners travel professionals cam use big data technology to track demographic information about their clients. This has boosted luxury bookings since the data helps agents with more targeted information to help close high-end sales. 

Strategic Partnerships with Luxury Travel Brands: Attendees were able to network with preferred partners with luxury offerings through one-on-one meetings, trade show and interactive panels, and presentations. 

Confidence to Close the Sale: Throughout the conference tips on closing luxury clients were discussed including “do not sell with your own wallet” and “don’t be afraid to ask for the sale.” Because some agents might be reluctant to ask for a big sale, the forum empowered them with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful in the luxury travel market.

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