FORT LAUDERDALE -- The presidential race and its
historically negative effect on the travel business was top of mind for cruise
line sales executives at CruiseWorld 2019.
During the Mastermind Sales & Marketing Secrets of
Success session, Norwegian Cruise Line chief sales officer Katina Athanasiou said
it's the industry's job to stay positive in the face of prevalent negativity from the presidential campaigns.
She also encouraged the industry to remain confident.
"Consumer confidence is the highest it's been in several
years," Athanasiou said. "People have less debt and more savings in the last 10
years. That's significant, so we have to capitalize on the positivity and make
sure that we remain focused on the true reality."
Dondra Ritzenthaler, Celebrity Cruises' senior vice
president of sales and trade support and service, encouraged advisors to have a
positive attitude. She also reminded agents that at the end of the day, most
consumers want a vacation. That desire, paired with increased
marketing support from the cruise lines, should help make 2020 a good year, Ritzenthaler said.
"We are actually putting more marketing and co-op funds in
the market in 2020 than we have in any other year in our history," she said.
MSC Cruises commercial sales officer Michelle Lardizabal
said "people get nervous when there's uncertainty." That's when travel
advisors should step up.
"As an advisor, you have the ability to really give them
that confidence, explain all of the opportunities, the experiences that they
have in front of them," she said.
Carnival senior vice president of global sales and trade
marketing Adolfo Perez cautioned advisors that low expectations could lead to
"We give ourselves an out, an excuse, not to work hard, not
to spend money on marketing, not to do these things, because, oh, it’s an
election year, it's going to suck," Perez said. "It doesn't have to."
He encouraged advisors to believe they can keep sales up in
Seabourn vice president of sales Doug Seagle also encouraged
positivity, especially with all the new cruise ships this year and in 2020.
"We want the message to be positive," Seagle said. "We want
it to be, 'Look at all the options that you have out there in the cruise