Speaking as a travel agent, I always get upset when cruise lines offer free online webinars.
Do they really think that travel agents will sit there for one hour and look at slides and them trying to describe a ship or destination to the agent?
What makes me even madder is when a cruise line will send me an email saying, “If you sell 12 cruises, you will be in the running for a free cruise!”
Now keep in mind it’s not really free.
You will have to pay tips, taxes etc.
What I’m trying to tell the cruise lines is that if you REALLY want travel agents to sell your brand, then invite them on board your ship and roll out the red carpet. Now I know what cruise lines will say. Mrs. Jones will just sun by the pool and Mr. Smith will just run to the casino.
If the cruise line would offer some training on the ship (perhaps during a sea day for 3 hours max), that would leave time for the travel agent to immerse him or herself into the EXPERIENCE.
When the travel agent gets home, pictures and the videos of the cruise will immediately go up on their social media channels and boom, sales.
So in conclusion, yeah, the Travel Agent Academy and webinars are fine, but let us experience the brand.
Then EVERYONE wins.
Scott Lara, Manager, Air Sea Travel, Jacksonville, Fl
@scottlara1961 on Twitter