Secaucus, NJ, November 20, 2017 –Travel Weekly's eighth-annual CruiseWorld, held November 15-17, 2017, at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida brought together 1,300 travel professionals participating in three days of industry education, workshops, general session programming and an Exhibitor Showcase. This year's event included new high energy content blocks and breaking news from the general session stage, a surprise Broadway performance, a contest for the cover of Travel Weekly and so much more. Supporting a booming 2017 and record setting bookings already for 2018, the energy was at an all time high.
"I was able to deliver some messages about the transformative power of travel and the role that the travel agent plays in the opportunity for travel to change the world," said Orlando Ashford, President, Holland America Line of his time on stage at CruiseWorld. "It’s exciting to be in a room of people that have the same love and passion for travel that I do and that Holland America does."
"The energy throughout the conference was palpable," said Alicia Evanko-Lewis, Senior Vice President of Events, Travel Group, Northstar Travel Group. "Hearing cruise line executives speak about how our industry came together to help so many destinations devastated by natural disasters this year confirmed for all of our attendees that the industry they’re in and the work they do truly impacts the world."
"The general sessions were like a rock concert. People were very engaged—clapping and laughing," said Joe Jiffo, Senior Vice President, Sales, MSC Cruises. "We had an esteemed panel that really enjoyed our time on stage sharing our knowledge with the agents because of their enthusiasm."
First-time TW Talks, featuring industry leaders speaking on various topics for eight minutes, were peppered throughout the general session programming. One in particular, offered by Virtuoso agency owner Keith Waldon of Departure Lounge, focused on the trend of travel advisors moving back to brick and mortar businesses and becoming more visible to their clients.
A series of four destination panels took place focusing on Mexico/Latin America, USA, Europe and the Caribbean. The resounding message from the Caribbean panel was that the destination is open for business.
A cornerstone of CruiseWorld is the STAR (Select Travel Advisor Recognition) Program, comprised of nearly 250 pre-qualified travel advisors representing a cross-section of experience levels, sales expertise and business models. Their attendance and accommodations were paid for by Travel Weekly, as a part of their commitment to advancing the industry. New this year was the STAR Showcase, where suppliers met with groups of 10 STAR advisors at a time to discuss their product, service, or destination.
"CruiseWorld and the STAR Program are helping me grow my business through the contacts they provide", said Johanna van Oeveren, Owner, Holiday Planit. "You can’t do this business on your own. It’s about travel and about people. You have to get out and meet those people in order to connect your clients with the world."
Advisors were encouraged to share their participation in the event through social channels. The closing general session, Around the World in 80 Minutes, featured supplier videos that took advisors on a virtual trip around the world, which were then made available to advisors to post for their clients’ viewing. Social posts from CruiseWorld’s Facebook page were shared upwards of 650 times during the event.
"I use Facebook heavily and being at CruiseWorld gives me credibility", said Gary Whitehurst, Owner, G Travel by Cruise & Travel Experts. "Clients see me being linked to Travel Weekly, attending the event and learning. They then know that I have a passion for travel, take it seriously, and that I will work hard to get them the best deal and the best vacation."
Keynote presentations featured cruise line executives Arnold Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Corporation, Frank del Rio, President & CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean International Ltd. And Celebrity Cruises’ President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo took to the stage to break news with the launch of their new Celebrity Flora to sail in the Galapagos.
Thirty panel discussions, workshops, training programs, and peer-to-peer breakout sessions were conducted, focusing on industry trends, customer acquisition tactics, business expansion, and building supplier relationships.
Attendees were wowed by entertaining acts highlighted by a surprise Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas cast performance of Grease. Additional one-of-a-kind high energy highlights were provided by MSC Cruises with a show from the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders, brought in by MSC Cruises, the official cruise line of the Miami Dolphins; and the unveiling of the winner of the MSC Seaside Sun Lover’s Paradise Contest, which awarded one advisor a sailing on the new Seaside and their picture featured on the cover wrap of a December issue of Travel Weekly.
CruiseWorld offered 10 ship inspections hosted by Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania, and Royal Caribbean International.
CruiseWorld returns to Fort Lauderdale in 2018, taking place November 7-9 with a one-day Exhibitor Showcase on November 8.
ABOUT TRAVEL WEEKLY:
Travel Weekly is the most influential provider of news, research, opinion and analysis to the North American travel trade marketplace. In addition to a weekly print publication, TravelWeekly.com - updated several times daily - is the most-visited industry website. Travel Weekly is a division of Secaucus, New Jersey-based Northstar Travel Group, the largest business-to-business travel publisher in the world.
ABOUT NORTHSTAR TRAVEL GROUP:
Northstar Travel Group is the leading provider of business-to-business news, information, data, transactions and custom content solutions for the travel, meetings and hospitality industries. Brands under the Northstar umbrella include Travel Weekly, Travel Weekly China, Travel Weekly Asia, TravelAge West, Business Travel News, Phocuswright, Burba Hotel Network, Meetings & Conventions, M&C China, Web in Travel and Inntopia. The company produces more than 52 face-to-face events, taking place in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Northstar is based in Secaucus, NJ, and is a portfolio company of EagleTree Capital. www.northstartravelgroup.com