Cruise Holidays showed off a new look for its consumer-facing marketing materials, updated franchise owners on the success of their recent Facebook sweepstakes, and rolled out or announced the expansion of several programs designed to attract and retain clients, all during Cruise Holidays’ 2013 Mid-Year Meeting, April 12-14, 2013.
Updated Website & Marketing Materials
Cruise Holidays’ website, www.cruiseholidays.com, is receiving a makeover, along with the franchise network’s consumer-facing email communications and printed brochures. Changes to the website, phasing in over the next three months, include a redesigned home page and interior pages. Equally as important, Cruise Holidays is adding new written content areas – including professionally-written cruise reviews – designed to attract and retain site visitors’ attention. Cruise Holidays relied on web analytics, click maps, user tests and the Cruise Holidays Marketing Focus Group to freshen up the look and feel. Printed brochures that Cruise Holidays sends to clients on behalf of franchise owners will also evolve to better attract clients’ attention.
Cruise Holidays continues to train a base of franchise owners with diverse skill sets on Facebook marketing techniques, and recently wrapped up its second franchise-wide Facebook sweepstakes. This March, more than 40 franchise owners participated in the sweepstakes, giving consumers the chance to win a free AmaWaterways European river cruise for two. The sweepstakes was available via desktop as well as through mobile devices – important because daily usage of Facebook via mobile now exceeds desktop usage.
Cruise Holidays provided comprehensive training for the participating franchise owners, including how to install the sweepstakes app on each of their pages, a complete graphics package and one-on-one coaching throughout the month so franchise owners could maximize their marketing efforts. More than 20,000 people registered for the sweepstakes, with 97% of those entries coming from Facebook. For clients not active on social media, paper entries and a form on www.cruiseholidays.com were available. “Facebook represents an optimal way for us to target people within our prime demographic, create relationships with them and continue marketing to them even after the completion of the sweepstakes,” said Tom Baumann, President of Travel Leaders Leisure Group, which Cruise Holidays is a part of.
Cruise Holidays Hosted Cruise Program & Cruise Holidays Cruise Values
On the operations front, Cruise Holidays unveiled a new hosted cruise program that provides its clients with three distinct advantages. Each sailing comes with the services of a concierge host, a private cocktail reception and an exclusive shore event at no additional cost. At its Mid-Year Meeting, Cruise Holidays showed sample brochures for the program and announced that the network can begin selling the hosted cruises to customers immediately. Cruise Holidays is currently partnering with eight cruise lines in this new program: two contemporary, and three premium and three luxury cruise lines.
Cruise Holidays also reminded franchise owners of the benefits of its “Cruise Holidays Cruise Values” program. Through this popular program, which is now in its 10th successful year, Cruise Holidays provides thousands of cruise options with additional amenities spread across 12 preferred partner cruise lines. Attendees learned about the quick find function called “Search All Inventory,” which is part of Cruise Holidays’ proprietary online tool, CruiseWeb. Through CruiseWeb’s Search All Inventory, agents can easily find any cruise that has a special offering exclusive to Cruise Holidays customers, including Cruise Holidays Cruise Values and Cruise Holidays hosted cruise program sailings.
Travel Leaders Worldwide Hotel Program
A representative from Travel Leaders Group – Cruise Holidays’ parent company – spoke to attendees about the Travel Leaders Worldwide Hotel Program. Now with more than 30,000 hotels, the Worldwide Hotel Program provides an attractive commission rate, competitive hotel rates, value added amenities, consumer point programs and agent point programs. More than half of the hotels in the program include breakfast and 70% include WiFi – both of which are top requests made by travelers.
Mid-Year Meeting attendees received a comparison chart outlining differences between this and the already-existing Stream Hotel Program, which is Travel Leaders Group’s pre-paid hotel program. They also learned that properties in the Worldwide Hotel Program are also bookable directly through TripPro, Cruise Holidays’ booking tool for domestic air, car rentals, and now also hotels. Cruise Holidays announced an incentive program geared toward engaging owners and agents in the Worldwide Hotel Program, in which participants will be eligible to win one of several Kindle Fire HDs, based on usage of the program.
“At the heart of it, we are a cruise franchise network, and that remains our core business,” said Baumann. “But to increase our competitive edge, we are increasing our portfolio of programs that more easily enable our cruise experts to serve as full-service, end-to-end travel professionals. The programs we’re providing are turnkey, allowing them to spend less time researching and more time selling,” added Baumann.