FORT LAUDERDALE — Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise trade association, has added a range of new elements at its annual cruise3sixty conference including innovative ship inspections (the most at any single travel event), destination and product showcases, workshops and education and, a conference first, co-located meeting opportunities for host agencies and consortia.
With more than 800 CLIA member travel agents already registered six months in advance of the conference, the event promises to be the biggest cruise3sixty program ever. It is scheduled for April 22-26, 2015, at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.
Cruise3sixty will feature education and certification programs, including five new seminars, delivering a record number of 160 available CLIA Certification credits for attendees. In addition, a trade show, social, networking and entertainment events, and CLIA’s annual Hall of Fame Gala Evening will all be part of this agent conference.
“The 11th annual cruise3sixty promises to be the biggest and best yet. Every enhancement we’re introducing is based on feedback and suggestions from our member agents and past cruise3sixty attendees,” said Christine Duffy, CLIA President and CEO. “Beyond our exciting general sessions that bring leading cruise line executives face to face with CLIA members, the new program offerings will deliver significant value to every attendee, and help them learn, network with peers and develop the skills and knowledge needed to maximize their sales results.”
Among the most notable changes to cruise3sixty 2015 are:
- ‘ships3sixty’ Ship inspections Your Way. Ship tours have been redesigned based on agent input and include 19 ships available for viewing. Agents can select ship inspections focused on the features that are most important to them. The inspections will run all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with each ship tour lasting between three and four hours, providing agents with an expanded opportunity to increase their cruise ship product knowledge. Every ship tour is fully detailed on the cruise3sixty registration site so agents can review offerings before signing up.
- Expanded CLIA training and certification. Fast-track agent certification with more credits than ever before in high-caliber training available only through CLIA. The 12 educational seminars feature five new classes, including ‘Cruising 101’, ‘Social Media for Today’s Travel Agent’, ‘Where in the World – A Different Approach to Cruise Geography’, ‘Successful Qualifying – Are You Asking the Right Questions?’ and ‘Make Suppliers Your BFFs – Get the Most Out of BDM Relationships’. In addition, new ‘It’s All About You’ CLIA workshops feature ‘Straight Talk’ that address facts that travel sellers need to know about cruise vacation safety, security, health and the environment. A new ‘Events At Sea’ session will offer a 2.5 hour program conducted by cruise line meeting and incentive experts exploring the increasingly popular incentive travel segment. Already, more than 100 agents have signed up for this session.
- Specialty Cruise Collection and Brand Showcases. A perennial favourite, attendees will enjoy in-depth, immersive product presentations focusing on the hottest trends and most profitable sales initiatives for CLIA’s North American cruise lines.
- Co-located meeting opportunities for host agencies and consortia. Also new in 2015, CLIA will provide Gold and Diamond premium members, including Cruise Planners, Avoya Travel and Nexion, the opportunity to co-locate their agent meetings, summits and forums at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center before cruise3sixty. While details are under development, additional co-location opportunities remain. Interested agency organizations should contact CLIA for more information.
In 2014, the cruise3sixty conference and trade show attracted a record number of participants, including more than 1,200 travel agents from 42 states, seven Canadian provinces and 13 other countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Australia.
Agents are urged to register now and sign up now for ship inspections, seminars, workshops and discounted hotel rates while they are still available at https://www.cruise3sixty.com.