A new website has been launched by the Association of Cruise Experts (Ace) to encourage agents to take part in National Cruise Week.
The site allows agents to upload details of their own personal cruise journeys.
The details emerged at the start of the ACE Selling Cruise conference which has attracted 285 agents out of 400 total delegates.
ACE director Andy Harmer used the conference to announce the launch of a new website offering a series of training modules. The first five modules will go live on Thursday followed by a further 25 over the coming months.
The website will include e-learning elements and blogs to “bring the cruise experience to life”.
This will be followed by the ‘journeys’ site where to share their cruise experiences with consumers ahead of National Cruise Week on September 15-23.
ACE will also run its first expedition expo in London on September 18 including visits to Hapag Lloyd ship Hanseatic while planning is taking place for the organisation’s second annual rivers convention later in the year.
Agents across the country will also be encouraged to hold afternoon tea for customers as a highlight of National Cruise Week. The initiative is planned for September 20.
Cunard president and managing director Peter Shanks, chairman of the Passenger Shipping Association, said ACE’s efforts were partly designed to help agents reassure customers about the safety of cruising.
“What we are trying to do this year is highlight the huge reassurance role agent must play,” he said. “We need to put the safety message in front of agents in a simple way.”
Shanks and Harmer denied that the Costa Concordia disaster had caused a major impact on sales and identified the tough economic climate as the main cause of a slowdown in bookings.
By splitting the ACE conference into a selling event for agents this week and a separate day for senior managers in Birmingham in September the organisation aims to better reach more cruise sellers.
Agents attending today’s event received 101 tips to selling cruises as part of the overall sales push.
As part of the surprise elements to the conference, ACE is using a linguist to help agents talk better about selling cruise to help convert non-cruise customers.
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