CruiseWorld Coverage

Sales executives preach positivity for election year

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From left, Carnival's Adolfo Perez, Celebrity's Donna Ritzenthaler and Seabourn's Doug Seagle during the Mastermind Sales & Marketing Secrets of Success session.
From left, Carnival's Adolfo Perez, Celebrity's Donna Ritzenthaler and Seabourn's Doug Seagle during the Mastermind Sales & Marketing Secrets of Success session. Photo Credit: Jamie Biesiada

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 poor results. 

"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 2020.

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 industry.'"

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