Strategy, trend sessions on tap for Travel Weekly's shows

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2011 show logoEmerging trends, successful strategies and best practices will be among the discussion topics and educational programs at Travel Weekly's CruiseWorld 2011 and Home Based Agent Show Nov. 2 to 5 at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.

Programming on Nov. 2 will focus on topics of special interest to home agents. The kickoff keynote for the combined audiences will be the cruise presidents' panel, with representatives from the world's four largest cruise companies. Participants will include Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International; Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn; Rick Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA; and Kevin Sheehan, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Travel Weekly Editor in Chief Arnie Weissmann will moderate the panel, which will examine trends and the future direction of cruising.

Leaders in the home agent community will share their insights about agency hosting during the keynote panel discussion, titled "Help Me Engage From Home." Speakers will include Vicky Garcia, senior vice president of Cruise Planners/American Express; Dwain Wall, senior vice president and general manager of CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.; Jackie Friedman, president of Nexion; Michael Drever, CEO and founder of Expedia CruiseShipCenters; and Brad Anderson, co-president of Avoya Travel/America's Vacation Center.

Top suppliers will reveal the agent practices they consider "best of breed" in a general session panel discussion. Representatives from cruise lines, tour operators, hotels and river cruise lines will offer tips, tools and tactics to help agents immediately grow their businesses.

Panelists include Frank Marini, vice president of sales for Collette Vacations; Michele Saegesser, vice president for North America/South Pacific sales at Viking River Cruises; Mike Going, president of Funjet Vacations; Joni Rein, vice president of worldwide sales for Carnival Cruise Lines; Mark Kammerer, senior vice president of marketing and North America sales for Holland America Line; and Chris Austin, vice president of global retail leisure and luxury sales for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

The focus will shift from the present to the future when executives from the cruise and tour segments headline a keynote panel titled "How Do We Satisfy the Future Leisure Customer?"

Participants will include Vicki Freed, senior vice president for sales at Royal Caribbean International; Andy Stuart, executive vice president for global sales and passenger services at Norwegian Cruise Line; Jeff Drew, senior vice president for business development at Oceania Cruises; Tim Mullen, co-president of Apple Vacations; and Paula Hayes, vice president of sales for the Globus Family of Brands.

The closing general session will feature a group of travel agents sharing their success stories. "Peer Power Panel: Top Agents Share Their Secrets" will provide insights from successful top agents. Panelists include Sharon Bernhardt, Westside International Travel Inc., at Altour; Nanci Brooks, an independent affiliate of Avoya Travel/America's Vacation Center; Helen Coiro, owner of Direct Line Cruises; Steve Lincoln, owner of Lincoln Travel; Ralph Santisteban, a CruiseOne franchise owner; and Bob Zweig, a Cruise Planners owner.

The session will be moderated by Weissmann and Costa Cruises USA President Maurice Zarmati.

More than 200 companies will exhibit during trade show hours on Nov. 3 and 4. The show floor will offer dedicated sections for luxury travel, Caribbean, Mexico and Florida.

In addition to the general sessions, concurrent educational and networking sessions will be offered six at a time throughout Nov. 3 and 4. Categories will include Building Your Business; Driving Digital; Engaging Clients; Promising Products; and two supplier education tracks.

Educational components will enable agents to earn credits toward CLIA certification along with an opportunity to become a Sandals certified specialist and a Niche cruise marketing specialist. New this year is a certification program from Avalon Waterways.

In addition, attendees already registered for the shows have had the option to sign up for inspections for up to three of nine cruise ships, from the luxury ship Crystal Symphony to Royal Caribbean International's Allure and Oasis of the Seas, the world's largest cruise vessels.

Cruise Planners is the social media partner for the conference, and Discover is the official credit card partner. Platinum sponsors are Celebrity Cruises, Travel Impressions and Cruise Planners/American Express. Gold sponsors are Avoya Travel/America's Vacation Center, Avalon Waterways, the Globus Family of Brands and Nexion. Silver sponsors are CruiseOne, Travel Planners International, VAX Vacation Access and Viking River Cruises. The destination partner is Greater Fort Lauderdale, and training partners are CLIA, Specialty Cruise Collection, Sandals and Avalon Waterways.

Agents can sign up for the conference by visiting www.cruiseworld2011.com.

For cruise news and updates, follow Donna Tunney on Twitter @dttravelweekly.

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