Capitalizing on the immediacy and ease of electronic communication, the “weblog” of Carnival Cruise Lines' Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Vicki Freed is earning major accolades from travel agents for providing a direct line of communication between agents and the company's senior management.
The blog, which is located at http://vickilovestravelagents.com, is the first of its kind hosted by a cruise industry executive and aimed specifically at travel agents.
Within the blog, Freed shares important news updates and information from the company, as well as a variety of sales and marketing tips. The site also serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas regarding all aspects of the cruise industry, with agents posing questions about a wide range of topics, everything from the line’s sales and distribution strategies to its on-board product and operations.
Freed personally answers agents questions and, for specialized inquiries, brings in Carnival executives from various departments to offer their own unique insight and experiences as needed.
“Agents truly appreciate having a direct line of communication with someone who can respond to their concerns and suggestions, and, more importantly, get things done,” said Freed. “This blog has evolved into an electronic town hall for the travel agent community,” she added.
Freed posts new entries on the Web site every week, with topics ranging from her experiences during the inaugural festivities of the Carnival Freedom in Venice to proven sales techniques and suggestions on how agents can more effectively use Carnival’s marketing tools and resources.
The site also provides links to other Carnival sites geared toward travel agents, including the comprehensive bookccl.com travel agent Internet portal, along with Carnival Connections.com group planning/social networking tool, and micros-sites created specifically for the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor.
Also provided is an RSS feed to notify agents when a new entry is posted and a “trackback” function that links an agent’s Web site back to Freed’s blog.
Freed says she intends to continue blogging as long as agents find it a meaningful way to communicate with the world’s largest cruise line.
“While I’ve received loads of positive comments of support for the blog, more often than not, agents are asking a question or asking for help or simply voicing their opinion,” said Freed. “Above all, the blog presents us with a unique opportunity to address specific situations or update our policies to better serve our valued travel agent partners,” she added.