Travel Weekly's CruiseWorld has moved to a virtual event for 2020 due to a number of factors related to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. But while the event will look a bit different this year, event organizers are confident that attendee participation will be no less valuable.
"We still believe firmly in the power of connection," said Alicia Evanko-Lewis, executive vice president of Travel Group Global Events for Northstar Travel Group, the parent company of Travel Weekly. "We are dedicated to delivering on the quality educational content and the supplier and advisor connections that are staples of CruiseWorld.
"This virtual event will play a large role in ensuring travel advisors and industry suppliers have the tools and relationships they need to move into 2021 and towards recovery," she added.
As in the past, CruiseWorld will be held over three full days, from Nov. 11 to 13, 2020. The programming will include education, networking and engagement.
"We've retooled the programming to be more accommodating to a virtual environment," said Mary Pat Sullivan, president of Sullivan Marketing Advisors and the event's director of content. "That means short bursts of learning, more in-depth training, and interactive conversations. We know it is all about learning and sharing with each other, and CruiseWorld will deliver on that."
Virtual general sessions will include conversations with cruise line CEOs Arnold Donald of Carnival Corp., Richard Fain of Royal Caribbean Group and Frank del Rio of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. There will even be opportunity for live Q&A with these leaders, who will share insights and discuss the challenges the industry has faced during the pandemic. A number of cruise line presidents will also take the virtual stage during CruiseWorld.
"Bringing these cruise line leaders to the travel advisor community is paramount to the rebirth of the cruise segment," said Bob Sullivan, president of the Travel Group at Northstar Travel Group. "Travel Weekly and Northstar Travel Group are committed to helping advisors gain knowledge so they can get their clients safely sailing again."
A bonus to the online format is that many sessions will be recorded for viewing at a later date. Event content will be accessible only to registered CruiseWorld attendees through the end of 2020. The preliminary virtual event agenda can be viewed here.
The signature Exhibitor Showcase will remain a large component of the event. The new format allows for expanded access to supplier partners, with Exhibitor Showcase access on both Thursday, Nov. 12 and Friday, Nov. 13. Advisors can schedule specific times to connect one-on-one or drop by a virtual booth to chat with representatives during the dedicated Exhibitor Showcase hours. A complete list of committed participating exhibitors can be found here.
Many sponsors of the live event remain in support of the virtual event, including Miami Beach, the intended host destination. "As the Cruise Capital of the World and home to the global headquarters for the cruise industry's most prominent brands, the GMCVB is proud to be a sponsor of Cruise World 2020," said William D. Talbert, III, CDME, president & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. "CruiseWorld's decision to transition to a virtual event this year in light of the global pandemic is fully supported by the GMCVB. We look forward to rolling out the red carpet in 2021 when CruiseWorld takes place in the fully renovated and expanded Miami Beach Convention Center."
The CruiseWorld team is exploring virtual ship inspection options with cruise line partners to replace the live inspections typically offered the weekend following the event.
Each year, CruiseWorld attracts about 1,000 travel advisors seeking new partners, updated content and education and powerful networking opportunities. There are already hundreds of advisors registered for CruiseWorld with a larger audience anticipated for the virtual event due to the elimination of travel expenses. The STAR (Select Travel Advisor Recognition) Program is once again sold out.
Opportunities to participate in the virtual event continue to be available for both exhibitors and advisors. Advisors can register for just $100 at www.cruiseworldshow.com/register, Suppliers interested in participating should contact Emmy Morales, global director of sales, events, at [email protected] or (201) 902-1951.
For more information visit www.cruiseworldshow.com.