Virtual conferences are becoming the new normal and when three of the five previously scheduled in-person Regional Trainings for Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc were impacted by COVID-19, the headquarters team jumped into action to reschedule those events, but in a virtual environment. As a result, the home-based travel agencies launched a series of 2-day live Virtual Regional Trainings. The first one was hosted at the end of May with more than 250 attendees, and the others are scheduled for July 16-17 and Aug. 20-21.
“We always say our agents are in business for themselves, but not by themselves, and that has never been more evident than during these past three months,” said Drew Daly, general manager and senior vice president of Dream Vacations CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. i press materials. “Many are saying they feel more connected than ever before thanks to our shift in focusing on virtual engagement. They are craving this interaction, and as a result, participation is through the roof on all our virtual platforms. Our hope is that every single one of our agents will attend a regional training this year now that we have re-imagined them by adding the three virtual events this summer.”
Daly hosted the May event with the same enthusiasm and energy he brings to an in-person event. The May Virtual Regional Training started each morning with a general session consisting of presentations from the corporate headquarters team, including Co-CEO/Chairman Brad Tolkin and senior vice president of product & operations David Crooks. In addition, COO Debbie Fiorino, vice president of IT Sandi Szalay, vice president of operations Joelle Delva and vice president of Cruises Inc. Sean Tolkin participated on a Leadership Team panel, which allowed attendees to ask anything that was on their mind and get inspired for the future. In the afternoon, nearly 20 cruise and land suppliers hosted interactive breakout sessions. A highlight for attendees was hearing from Royal Caribbean International’s senior v.p. of sales, trade support & service Vicki Freed, as well as Celebrity Cruises’ senior v.p. of sales, trade support & service Dondra Ritzenthaler. Another highlight was the “all-agent” panel which featured four agents sharing their successful business building tips during this pandemic. All sessions were recorded so even those who were unable to attend or missed a session, were able to benefit from this training.
“Although there is nothing like in-person gatherings, our first-ever Virtual Regional Training was about as good as it can get,” said Rhonda Day, Dream Vacations franchise owner and vacation specialist in Louisville, Ky. in a press statement. “Our leadership team did an outstanding job putting together an engaging and informative two days. With the unique time we are in, the training naturally involved lots of talk about the state of the industry and how to move forward. With so much uncertainty right now, agents need to have positive reinforcement, support and connection and the Virtual Regional Training provided just that.”
Under the leadership of Director of Training Charity Santiago, and Director of Events & Corporate Giving Andrea Giraldo, the training and events team has amplified its online offerings and engagement. In addition to the creation of the Virtual Regional Trainings, they’ve also added a record-breaking number of training modules to the Learning Center—an online learning management system, and hosted nearly 100 webinars since mid-March that are experiencing a 252 percent increase in engagement.
To learn more about joining the travel agency network, visit dreamvacationsfranchise.com for information about Dream Vacations/CruiseOne, and visit sellcruises.com to learn more about the Cruises Inc. For more learning opportunities, check out Recommend’s upcoming and past webinars. And, for more agent tools you can use, click here.