Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
LONDON — Virgin Voyages is shaking up the cruise industry yet again with its approach to travel agent registration and brand education.
The new cruise line, which will officially launch in 2020 with its first ship, Scarlet Lady, created two digital homes specifically for its ‘First Mates’, a term coined for its travel agent partners.
These two ‘homes’ are FirstMates.com and the First Mates SeaCiety Facebook group, a community for education and communication. Both are designed to help make booking on Virgin Voyages as seamless and enjoyable as possible.
Travelweek previously reported on the launch of FirstMates.com site in January. Since mid-February, agents have been able to make bookings for the cruise line’s 2020 inaugural season via the website.
New details about FirstMates.com have now been released. A First Mate can register to do business with Virgin Voyages 100% digitally. It takes less than 10 minutes to register as a business owner, and in under 15 minutes First Mates can be registered and selling cruises.
The First Mates SeaCity Facebook group includes entertaining videos that show up on members’ Facebook feeds, eliminating the need for them to seek out content – it will come directly to them.
“Virgin Voyages knows First Mates are on social media, using the platform to bring in business. To streamline the process and make working with Virgin Voyages as simple as possible, Virgin Voyages is bringing all brand information to those social media platforms First Mates are already on,” said the cruise line.
The closed Facebook group is open to all First Mates who register on FirstMates.com. After registering, FirstMates.com will invite registered users to join the group.
The Facebook group will feature original content series created by Virgin Voyages. It has created 11 campaigns thus far, all driven from the point of view of a First Mate.
‘International Waters’, the first original series, stars Ginger Minj from RuPaul’s Drag Race as well as five castmates on a vintage yacht from the 1920s. It details why Virgin Voyages uses drag queens in its marketing and how this ties back to the core of the brand.
“Virgin Voyages wants to make it easy for First Mates and ultimately help them put more money in their own pockets,” added the cruise line. “Each video relates back to a core brand principal, teaching First Mates about the company’s values.”