Do you believe in second chances? If you do, it may be time to pencil in some dates this fall for Costa Cruises.
Genoa-based Costa has created a 12-city road show to relaunch its brand in the United States.
The “Better than Ever Anniversary Tour” kicks off in Southfield, Mich., on Aug. 20 and concludes in Miami in December.
Additional stops on the tour include Schaumburg, Ill., Aug. 21; Oak Brook, Ill., Aug. 22; Tyson's Corner, Va., Aug. 27; Cherry Hill, N.J., Aug. 28; Hackensack, N.J., Sept. 3; Costa Mesa, Calif., Sept. 9; Woodland Hills, Calif., Sept. 10; Boston, Sept. 24; Dallas, Oct. 9, and Houston, Oct. 10. To register, agents should RSVP to [email protected].
Costa, of course, has been a tough sell since the Concordia accident. But nearly 18 months have passed. A mourning period has been observed. It is realistic for agents, if they haven't yet, to start thinking about the future and about marketing Costa to potential cruisers.
Costa’s pitch will run through travel agents who can help tell its story and lend credibility to its message. At each road show stop, retailers have been invited to attend a reception, product presentation and question-and-answer session.
Scott Knutson, Costa’s vice president of sales and marketing for North America, will detail an agent incentive program, and other Costa managers will be on hand to outline itineraries, product highlights and bonus offers.
It may be no coincidence that Costa’s chief competitor in Italy, MSC Cruises, will be wooing travel agents as well this fall as it positions a ship for year-round sailing from Miami for the first time.
To incentivize retailers to come to the presentations, Costa has a sweepstakes: agents who attend are eligible for one of five Mediterranean cruises, complete with airfare.
Americans were rightly shocked by the Costa Concordia sinking, but many of them also believe in redemption and the forgiveness of mistakes.
"We truly believe Costa is better than ever,” Knutson said, “and we're looking to share our initiatives so our agent partners can go out and knowledgably sell Costa to their clients.”