Bahamas Paradise plans new agent initiative

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The Grand Classica docked in Nassau.
The Grand Classica docked in Nassau.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has opened an online portal for travel advisors and plans a new six-person team devoted to the agent channel.

The portal, Bookparadise.com, has attracted more than 1,000 registrations in a soft opening over the past few weeks, said Clark Reber, director of partner relations at the line.

Advisors visiting the portal will find four subject areas: Book, Learn, Market and Experience.

According to Reber, there are training modules, as well as a booking incentive through the portal to earn a free cruise with each five sold.

It also affords a one-click way to join a seminar at sea, a roadshow or a Bahamas Paradise webinar.

"We do travel agent lunches onboard, because every day we've got a ship in port in West Palm Beach, whether it's the Classica or the Celebration," said Francis Riley, vice president of sales and marketing.

Agents have taken 320 fam trips with the line since March, when Riley and Reber started with the company.

Starting Nov. 11, Bahamas Paradise will have a dedicated team to deal with agents called the Global Trade Desk.

Agents can call the desk Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 9:30 a.m to 5 p.m.

Riley said it will improve the company's focus on the trade, and help integrate the groups, wholesale and travel agent business lines.

The desk is global because Bahamas Paradise has been pitching its cruises to Canadian advisors in events in Toronto, Montreal and elsewhere. In addition, there is some business developing through wholesalers in Latin America. Riley also has his sights on U.K. business, and attended the World Travel Market show in London in early November.

Those overseas customers are looking for a longer vacation than just a two-night cruise, which dovetails with the Bahamas Paradise Cruise & Stay Program. Because of its every-other-day frequency, the line can uniquely leave visitors in Freeport or Nassau at a hotel for two- or four-night stays, which are packaged with the cruise.

"The ability to sell a four-day product or a six-day product I think is great for the trade because it allows them to sell at a higher price point than what you currently see out there in the marketplace for the short cruise market," Riley said.

The cruise currently sells for $69 for a week-day departure and Nassau hotel packages start at $389.

"At $389 for a four-night product, commissionable, no NCF, that becomes quite an attractive opportunity for agents, particularly in the environment we're in today," Riley added.

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