Former Carnival Cruise Lines president Bob Dickinson is returning to parent company Carnival Corporation to give advice on marketing and travel agent relations.
He will report to Howard Frank, vice chairman and chief operating officer of Carnival Corporation.
His return after stepping down from the board of directors in April comes in the wake of a turbulent year for the world’s largest cruise organisation with a series of high profile technical issues on various Carnival Cruise Lines ships.
Dickinson, who retired in 2007 as president and chief executive of Carnival Cruise Lines, is to work as a consultant to the corporation to provide advice on marketing and distribution at Carnival's North American brands.
He told Travel Weekly in the US his first task was to assess the brands' deficiencies, opportunities and strengths, and then to conduct a "gap analysis" on where brands have a chance to improve.
"Then we'll develop strategies to enhance relations with travel agents; that’s really what it’s all about," Dickinson said. He added the Carnival brands want their travel agent relations to be "as robust as possible."
Perceptions of the cruise industry will be another subject Dickinson will study. There is a lot of opportunity to reset the public's image, he said. A comparative analysis will show which brands are faring best with consumers, and which are lagging.
"So, if one of our brands has done better against its competitive peer set, we’re going to celebrate that,” he said. “And similarly, if one has deteriorated its position, we’re going to understand why and come up with steps to remediate it.”
Dickinson said a cruise company's marketing and distribution are "inextricably intertwined," because travel agents depend on a brand being strong and being marketed adroitly.
“Without a doubt, the largest success Carnival has had, certainly in the 36 years that I was there, has to be due to the agent community and the tremendous support we’ve had from travel agents all over,” he added.
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