Clia boss Andy Harmer reveals what agents can expect from this year's Selling Cruise Conference next month. Report by Hollie-Rae Merrick
Clia UK & Ireland will urge agents to take hold of their own destiny at this year’s Selling Cruise Conference.
Held between May 21 and 23, the 2015 conference will combine networking, conference sessions and ship visits.
Speaking ahead of the three‑day event in Southampton, Andy Harmer (pictured), director of Clia, said: “Our theme is Destiny and each letter [of the word] has a different topic attached to it. We will look at destination, experiences, sales, training, innovation, new-to-cruise and you.
“The You session will reflect why agents are so important in the cruise sector and how they can use what they’ve learnt to boost cruise bookings back to their agencies.
“Agents are probably more important to cruise than any other sector in travel.
“Travel agents attending any of our Clia events are already taking control of their destiny and their future sales of cruise.”
A record number of agents will attend this year’s event – it sold out earlier than ever before.
“We will have 400 agents attending, which is a record for us,” said Harmer.
“I think it reflects the popularity of the event and how far we’ve come. The Selling Cruise Conference is now a main event in the calendar for agents and the trade can see the benefit of attending.
“In total, there will be 600 delegates, which is another record, with most river and ocean lines attending.”During the event, delegates will attend conference sessions and visit a different ship each day.
Ships and speakers
Three of the industry’s newest ships will be in Southampton: P&O Cruises’ Britannia, Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas and Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess.
Harmer believes having “the newest and most innovative ships at sea” in Southampton for the event has been a big draw for delegates.
Speakers at this year’s conference will include Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice-president of sales and trade support at
Celebrity Cruises, and Mark Kammerer, vice-president of international marketing and sales at Holland America Line. Both are flying over from the US to speak at the conference.
The trade fair at this year’s event will be different.
Harmer said: “We will have a new event at the conference – the Selling Cruise Showcase.
“This is the new trade fair and there will be more opportunities for agents, our cruise line partners and executive partners to network.
“Our aim is always that agents return home with a new skill or a new contact. It’s important we continue to highlight the opportunities available in the cruise sector and the training opportunities available to agents through Clia and cruise lines.”
The Twitter hashtag for the event, for which Travel Weekly is once again the headline trade media partner, will be #FoundMyDestiny.
Tickets for the Selling Cruise Conference are sold out.
For more information about the conference, visit cliauk.co.uk
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