Norwegian Cruise Line, says Katina Athanasiou, chief sales officer, is pulling all the stops with its upcoming “Week of You,” a weeklong programming dedicated to its travel advisor partners, and to further support their advisor partners, the cruise line is throwing in an extra bonus during Wave season.
“‘Week of You’ is a weeklong effort taking place next week, Dec. 7-11, and featuring a series of thoughtfully curated complimentary virtual events designed to help our travel partners from the inside out,” says Athanasiou. “Our Partners First philosophy places our advisors at the heart of every decision that we make and that’s why we are rolling out the type of programming with ‘Week of You’ that’s intended to help them succeed both personally and professionally.”
The “Week of You” will provide travel partners with access to exclusive content and opportunities to engage with A-list lifestyle experts and business leaders, including The New York Times best-selling author and purpose coach Jay Shetty, “Queer Eye’s” design guru Bobby Berk, award-wining winemaker and NCL partner Michael Mondavi, Karrikins Group founder and leader of the business growth advisory council Peter Sheahan, Facebook’s Head of Travel Colleen Coulter and renowned business communications expert and one of Amazon’s best-selling authors Jill Schiefelbein. Topics will range from tips on how to establish and maintain healthy mental well-being and mindfulness, to do-it-yourself home office makeovers for a more productive work environment and leveraging social media platforms for client engagement and to grow sales.
“In the past, we’ve done an annual ‘Week of Thank You’ for our travel partners in which we talked to our travel partners and shared our gratitude and appreciation for all that they do for us throughout the year,” says Athanasiou. “We would typically combine that with what we call our Metro Meetings or similar roadshow-type and our field sales team would go across the U.S. and Canada and do business partner meetings, kind of preparing for Wave. We’d drop off little goodies and we’d have executive videos. All of this was fantastic, but after talking to many partners over the course of the last several months it really became apparent that being a travel advisor in this current environment has taxed them like it never has before. So, this was the driving force behind the evolution and creation of ‘Week of You’ vs. ‘Week of Thank You.’
“This is one of the most meaningful initiatives we’ve ever done at NCL. It’s a significant investment, both emotionally and from a resource investment, but we never shy away from anything that’s hard when we know it’s right. We really wanted to help be the best partner to our travel advisors and help our advisors be the best version of themselves to really help succeed as we move forward.”
In addition to the aforementioned lifestyle and educational workshops, the cruise line will host dedicated sessions where travel partners will have the opportunity to engage with NCL executives and sales representatives to prepare them for the brand’s upcoming return to cruise. Attendees will further their knowledge on the NCL guest experience and innovative product offerings with discussions focused on group sales, upcoming promotions, highlighted itineraries and more. Advisors are invited to sign up to attend the Metro Meeting that accommodates their region and time zone and best serves their business goals and clients’ needs.
“The programming focuses on three tracks: education; lifestyle, because the course of the last few months has taken a toll on all of us; and then the Metro Meeting sessions. Mornings will focus on education, afternoons on lifestyle, and evenings will focus on business partner sessions, Metro Meetings.”
Speaking to the event’s close-out performance from the Tony Award-winning production “Million Dollar Quartet,” Athanasiou notes that “we wanted to create something really meaningful and a very specific performance for our travel partners and we chose ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ because the story is about collaboration, about partnership, amidst really strenuous circumstances…and just as Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley prevailed, we definitely expect to prevail alongside our travel partners as we move together into 2021.
“We really wanted to take a moment to remind all of our stakeholders who we are, not just talk about the shiny bells and whistles of our ships. This is really a way to connect on an emotional level and bring that connection back with our guests and our travel partners and remind them how special moments, live-changing memories truly are created aboard our ships.”
Giveaways & Bonuses
During the course of the “Week of You” there will be several giveaways, including 20 7-day cruises; commemorative prize giveaways that will be specific to sessions; and a home office makeover with Bobby Berk.
New content will be made available daily, and travel advisors are encouraged to review each lifestyle and educational workshop completed for a chance to win one of the aforementioned commemorative gifts. In addition, for every session attended, participants will be entered into a drawing for a 7-day cruise. The more sessions travel partners participate in, the greater their chances to win a cruise aboard one of the 17 ships within the company’s fleet.
And as the industry heads into Wave season, NCL has announced that it will go a step further to help support its partners, “who are quite frankly,” says Athanasiou, “our lifeline.” In January, NCL will be rolling out “something new with our partners—our CruiseFirst certificates as a Wave bonus. This will immediately place revenue in the hands of our travel advisors while creating immediate value for their guests. In a nutshell, their clients receive a $300-valued CruiseFirst certificate for the cost of only $150 and the coupon gives the guest the flexibility to choose the cruise that they want whenever they are ready to sail. They have three years from the purchase date of the coupon to actually apply their certificate to a new reservation, so with all of the value and none of the stress and pressure. There’s a limit of 10 coupons per guest. And for us, understanding the need to provide our partners with immediate support, advisors will receive instant revenue on the sale of every certificate throughout all of Wave. It’s a gift card incentive bonus—$50 per coupon and only for new reservations.”
As Athanasiou notes, “We believe that when you feel good about you on the inside you honestly conduct better business on the outside, and that’s why we are pulling out all of the stops to help our partners be the best entering into 2021 to succeed both personally and professionally.”
To register and learn more about Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Week of You” and its full schedule of events and guest speakers, visit ncl.com/weekofyou.