Virgin Voyages took delivery of its third ship, Resilient Lady, on Dec. 8, 2022.
For travel advisors, 2022 was a year of recovery and one that for many reaped rich rewards. With bookings on the rise as the pandemic ebbed, advisors had high praise for the suppliers they say went above and beyond in helping them boost their business as seamlessly as possible.
“First and foremost is Signature Travel Network, which provides great educational opportunities though regular webinars featuring our partners throughout the world,” said Claire Schoeder, an independent contractor with Elevations Travel. “This is the best program I have experienced in nearly 30 years in the industry.”
Schoeder also gave high marks to Silversea Cruises, which she credited with having “great reps and support staff that keep me really up to date and help me offer the best options to my clients.”
For VIP Vacations President Jennifer Doncsecz, Virgin Voyages and Classic Vacations stood out in terms of providing the tools and promotions that helped the agency boost its business.
“Virgin Voyages has reinvented the cruise experience, they have a unique marketing perspective, and have created attractive promotions that stand out for adults only cruises,” she said.
“For our group business, Classic Vacations has focused on their direct relationships with advisors, their online groups trainings and enhanced group booking tools that enable our agency to book contracted groups with ease.”
Kim Cook, owner of Love to Travel credited ALG Vacations with helping grow the agency’s business. “In 2022, we have seen innovations in their groups department as well as in reservations that made our lives easier,” Cook said. “We can book vacations/groups more efficiently than with any other tour operator.
“They also have marketing resources we can use for social media. We appreciate the support they give us from the executive leadership team to the dedicated customer service line for Diamond agents. Their Waves reward program is a great incentive for our agency as the extra money we earn is used for marketing initiatives to grow our business.”
Churchill & Turen Managing Director Richard Turen had high praise for Micato Safaris and Oceania Cruises.
“Micato Safaris truly understands the role of the travel seller providing constantly updated information for advisors,” he said. “They understand the potential hurdles in creating a truly memorable vacation on the continent and top management is always available and supportive of local marketing efforts.
“Oceania Cruises has a supportive mentality that leads to reservation agents sometimes referring direct callers to one of their producing advisors for assistance with the booking process.”
Holly Lombardo, owner of Holly Lombardo Travel, offered more generalized praise for cruise lines and local tour companies.
“The cruise line’s promotions have been driving large increases in bookings,” she said. “Clients are learning that often it is much less expensive to sail on a seven-night Caribbean departure than it is to stay on one island.”
For their part, local tour companies helped Lombardo increase her productivity, which enabled her to handle large numbers of inquiries.
“With a small number of email exchanges, I am able to get pricing on many different types of travel components, which would have taken me 10 times longer to secure on my own,” she said. “They are invaluable when you find the right one.”
For the latest travel news, updates and deals, subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter.