Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member lines and their travel agent partners are staying ahead of the curve on economic recovery by taking charge of the rebound. The single biggest cruise promotion of the year – “World’s Largest Cruise Night” on October 14 – is designed to help agents set the stage for 2010 by selling a record number of cruise vacations in a single 24 hour period. Agents can register beginning August 13 for in-store and virtual special events, or both, that last year accounted for over $40 million in sales.

“This has been a tough year but CLIA lines and travel agents have responded brilliantly by pulling together to promote the exceptional value of cruise vacations. The efforts have paid off, consumers are responding and now’s the time to keep the momentum going,” said Terry L. Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. “World’s Largest Cruise Night is a tremendous opportunity for agents to show their customers that there has never been a better time to take a cruise. CLIA member lines are onboard with outstanding value offers; all we need is for our agent members to look ahead, sign up and prepare for a great 2010.”

Marking its fifth consecutive year, WLCN, the centerpiece of National Cruise Vacation Month, is highlighted by CLIA member cruise lines partnering with travel agencies to produce a broad range of special events and promotions, both online and in-store, designed to showcase the incomparable value of cruise vacations. WLCN has had greater participation every year and this year is expected to be an even greater opportunity for agents to capitalize on “consumer-friendly” value offered by the lines.

“Throughout the year we’ve seen consumers responding strongly to the outstanding value offered by CLIA member lines for cruises in every part of the world and in every price category,” said Bob Sharak, CLIA’s executive vice president. “World’s Largest Cruise Night” will bring it all together in one place and during one 24-hour period, thus providing participating agents with an unbeatable chance to build a position of strength going forward.”

In 2008, over 4,000 agents participated in WLCN events and online Virtual WLCN promotions estimated to have generated almost 43,000 bookings, $41.4 million in sales and nearly $5.4 million in commissions.

A record number of over 65,000 CLIA member line videos were viewed by consumers during virtual WLCN cruise events held by over 3,000 agents. These CLIA members who participated in Virtual WLCN promotions, sent email invitations to consumers inviting them to visit a customized Web site with cruise line videos, agency contact information and special offers. Over 1,100 agencies conducted traditional WLCN events, also a record. Nearly 500,000 consumers were invited to visit a customized WLCN website to obtain information on special offers. All of Liberty Travel’s locations participated with in-store events along with many of the leading vacation agency distributors in North America.

In 2009, agents will once again have three ways to participate. The enhanced Virtual WLCN option enables them to customize their own Web page featuring their agency information, sales message, and up to five several informative videos from participating CLIA member lines. These videos are designed to be sales stimulants and assist agencies in maximizing their participation in this event. A unique URL will then be created that can be distributed to their clients and new prospects, inviting them to participate remotely. The virtual WLCN sites will be live for the entire month of October.

The wide-ranging portfolio of one-day in-store, or physical events can include luncheons, cocktail parties, dinners, full-scale expos, and many other activities. And, of course, agents are welcome to choose both options in order to generate a maximum sales volume.