CRUISE PLANNERS ; AMERICAN EXPRESS TRAVEL KICKS OFFTHE CRUISITUDE REVOLUTION
Company’s annual convention unveils new technology and highlights the power of the brand
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. ; November 29, 2012 ; Launching the Cruisitude™ Revolution at this year’ssold-out annual convention, Cruise Planners - American Express Travel, the nation's largest home-basedtravel agent franchise network in the cruise industry, welcomed nearly 500 agents to Seminole Hard RockHotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida with a day full of important announcements and industry news.The first day of the convention predicted a positive and profitable year ahead, as well as new technologyand marketing tools for agents.Michelle Fee, CEO and co-founder of Cruise Planners ; American Express Travel, opened the first day’ssession with an introduction that focused on the power of the Cruise Planners brand and illustrated howagents can leverage the brand to increase visibility and sales. According to Fee, 2012 was a successfulyear for the company and its travel advisors. With agents embracing the recently launched “CPVacations,” a completely packaged vacations program that provides agents with access to more than 300packages, including cruises plus pre and/or post stays, excursions and more.“What sets Cruise Planners apart is our recognizable and trustworthy name and that is what has allowedus to continuously grow year after year,” said Fee. “2012 has been a great year for us with our agentsdoubling their sales of land tours, the launch of our successful destination weddings program and theunveiling of our award-winning newly enhanced website. And now, as we look forward to next year, wesee great things with new ships coming online, customers eager to travel and all of our new programs tomake selling even easier for our advisors.”As a company that prides itself on being an industry leader in technology, some of the day’s biggestannouncements came from Cruise Planners ; American Express Travel’s Vice President ofTechnologyBrian Shultz, who announced a consumer smartphone app that will be available for iOS and Android inJanuary. With the unveiling of the app, the company has launched an online naming contest for it. Shultzalso announced new features to their websites, including MyTrips, a client portal where anyoneauthorized can login to view upcoming trips and share them with friends and family via social media.Users can also directly purchase shore excursions that are fully commissionable to the agent. Shultzcontinued by introducing Client Snapshots, which allows agents to see an intelligent view of their clients’ying and travel patterns as well as the highly-anticipated Cruise Fare Reduction tool that allows agentto easily see if a cruise fare has dropped since booking, making the advisor a money-saving hero to theircustomers.Much of the developments announced during the first day of the convention stemmed from regionalmeetings conducted throughout the country hosted by Fee and Vicky Garcia, executive vice president ofsales and marketing. These regional meetings gave the executives a better understanding of advisors’needs and allowed the Home Office team to develop many of the initiatives, new technologies andprograms.The social media scene was another highlight of the day with the convention going completely online,featuring moment-to-moment news and live polling as well as commentary and interaction on Facebookand Twitter being broadcast throughout the day.In her opening day speech, Garcia reinforced the importance of using social media to stay current andengage with clients. She also announced the company’s new social media platform, CPSocialsm. As anaddition to the Facebook Business Fan Page launched last year, CPSocialsm will now allow HO to postcontent on behalf of travel advisors weekly. The social media platform will provide a user-friendlydashboard for managing Facebook pages with suggested content and a calendar setting so posts can bescheduled to coincide with promotions and other news. The new platform will also incorporate Twitter,LinkedIn and Flickr to the dashboard system in the first quarter of 2013, a benchmark that sets CruisePlanners ; American Express Travel apart in the industry. Additionally, the company will be launching adirectory listing service to ensure agents are listed accurately and on the top of search engine resultswithin their local markets.A new car wrap program was also well-received by attendees. The program will be launched with anationwide partner and give all Cruise Planners advisors access to pre-negotiated rates and thecompany’s graphic designs.The last and final big takeaway from the day was an update on CPCares, the company’s corporate socialresponsibility program. Benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) this year, the company ison course to raise $150,000 through events, auctions and selling the Cruise Planners’ signature “bling”clothing and accessories. As part of the CPCares presentation, the company named guest speaker CJGeorge, cancer survivor and LLS Boy of the Year, as the official Cruisitude Youth Ambassador.Cruise Planners ; American Express’s annual convention runs through Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. To bepart of the conversation during convention, follow @CPMichelle, @VickyGarcia621 and @Cruisitude onTwitter and use the hashtag #CPConvention or connect with Cruise Planners ; American Express Travelon Facebook.
About Cruise Planners - American Express Travel
Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Services Representative, is the largest home-based travelagent network in the cruise industry with more than 800 franchise owners across the country thatindependently book cruises and associated travel. Named No.1 Cruise Tour / Travel Agency byEntrepreneur magazine for the past nine years, Cruise Planners positions franchise owners for successby providing them with innovative marketing, booking and lead-generating tools as well as professionaldevelopment and hands-on training with the industry’s top executives.Headquartered in Coral Springs, Fla., Cruise Planners has achieved top producer status with every majorcruise line. Accolades include winning a record nine Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly in 2012,Special Needs Group Accessible Travel Advocate Power Partners™ for 2012, American Express TravelRepresentative Excellence Award for 7 years in a row (2004 ; 2011), Agency of the Year from AmericanExpress (2010), Royal Caribbean International Home-Based Partner of the Year (2007 ; 2012),Norwegian Cruise Line Franchise Agency of the Year (2012) and Home-Based Agency of the Year(2010), Southeast Region Travel Agent Partner of the Year from Celebrity Cruises (2010), Globe Awardfrom American Express Vacations (2008 ; 2012), Globus Family of Brands Premier Agency Partner (2009- 2012), Platinum Circle Member with Viking River Cruises (2009-2012), and Regent Seven SeasCruises Top Producer. For more information, please visit www.cruiseplanners.com.