Following on from the ninth Selling Cruise Conference, the delegates who attended were treated to a number of highlights: from a lesson in happiness by Andy Cope to Dondra Ritzenthaler discussing why being an expert is so important. You wouldn’t cut your own hair would you? So why not take the professionalism of holiday experts seriously?
The new chairwoman of Clia UK & Ireland, Lynn Narraway, who came up with this year’s Destiny theme, provided another highlight by singing on stage. Cruise Adviser sat down with Narraway, who is also the UK managing director of Holland America and Seabourn, to find out why the Selling Cruise Conference is so important what the feedback has been like…
CA: Why is the Selling Cruise Conference so important?
Lynn Narraway: It is the forefront of bringing cruise to the travel trade, and puts cruise firmly on the annual conference calendar. We now have more travel agents attending the Selling Cruise Conference than many other major events. It also gives the cruise lines an opportunity to work together and bring new to cruise agents to the industry. We can discuss, argue and look at ways to increase the cruise number and bring more into the cruise funnel.
CA: If you were to pinpoint an area you want the conference to have an impact, would it be on new to cruise?
Lynn Narraway: Definitely. This particular conference was aimed at targeting new to cruise guests. The Destiny theme covered the main focus points of new to cruise. We broke each letter down and gave it a meaning. The ‘D’, which was for destination, for example, is the main reason why people book a cruise. Each topic was to help agents focus and look at their database and work out how to successfully bring cruise into their daily activity.
CA: Have you had any feedback from the conference?
Lynn Narraway: I’ve been inundated! Twitter over the weekend was amazing, everyone was on a high. We had three fantastic ships and those cruise lines did very well handling the sheer logistics of moving that many people around while having guests on board. I’ve already had emails coming through saying it was the best conference yet, so it’ll be difficult to beat next year – especially given it’s the 10 year anniversary. We’d better get our thinking cap on.
CA: Did you have a favourite speaker?
Lynn Narraway: I think I learnt something from each one and I hope the audience did too. The range was hugely diverse. I saw agents going up to Mark Kammerer and say that their boss had said something similar and he had reinforced it, Andy Cope was brilliant talking about how it’s you and your attitude and Dondra was a star. They were all great.
CA: During your tenure as chairwoman of Clia UK & Ireland, are there any numbers you would like to hit?
Lynn Narraway: It’s all about growing the cruise industry but cruise lines have their individual targets so it’s not really down to Clia to say this is where we should be. Obviously I want to see us go through the two million mark as quickly as possible but that’s dependent on targets. The more new to cruise we can bring in, and the more that Clia can help agents bring in to new to cruise, will see us hit that target more quickly.