Planning a Cruise Event? Why Booking Direct is Not Your Best Choice
So you’re considering a cruise ship venue for your meeting or group event – great! Now the next decision is how you’re going to book that cruise. I’m still amazed that planners are willing to take their valuable time to call around to multiple cruise lines and try to figure it all out themselves.
They think that “buying direct” is the holy grail, when there are experienced cruise event companies like The Cruise Authority who can do it all for them – at no additional cost. Duh. And, if you require additional services beyond ship procurement, we offer convenient one-stop shopping for all your cruise program needs. So read on if you need some reasons to present to your procurement department (or to convince yourself).
1. How do you know what’s out there?
Are you a cruise expert? If not, you wouldn’t be expected to know all the cruise lines and ships that would be a good choice for your program. It’s like buying a house. You put your trust in someone or some company to introduce you to the right opportunities.
Every day we learn about a new ship or even a new cruise line entering the market – with interesting new ships and technologies. There’s a world of great ships and cruising destinations – with a huge swing in price points. We can open that world for you.
2. Do you trust an independent source or someone with a vested interest in the outcome?
If you’ve ever bought a car, you know that the salesperson has only one thing in mind – to get you into THEIR car. Sure. they’ll compare their offering to other brands, but you can bet it will always be favorable to them.
At The Cruise Authority, our only vested interest is that you have an amazing program. That means we give you the real deal scoop about the differences in ships – and most important to you, the difference in services and what you can expect once you are onboard. We’re on ships all the time, so we know what’s happening with each brand and who does what best. It’s invaluable insight that can make a difference in the success of your program.
3. Do you know what’s negotiable and what’s not?
If you’ve worked with hotels and feel comfortable with those terms and negotiations, that doesn’t mean it translates to cruise ships. This is a new world that includes things like cap points, port taxes & fees, pre-paid gratuities. If you’re thinking of chartering, you can expect terms like irrevocable LOC and lost on-board revenue.
Part of our free service is to help you negotiate terms and get the best deal for you in all areas of the negotiation – not just the price. Our goal is to save YOU money. The cruise line’s goal is to make more money. Who are you going to trust to look after your best interests?
4. You want control.
Terrific– we’re on the same page, because we want you to have control. It’s your program, after all. We’re here to help you think through how your program can and will work on a ship; we don’t drop off the face of the earth after the negotiations are done. You’re in the pilot’s seat – but we’re your parachute.
For example, would you know where to go when you get a “no”? If you can’t get the meeting rooms you need or the flexibility in scheduling that you desire, we can offer “elegant solutions” and help push your requests up the decision-making line.
In the unfortunate situation when a serious issue arises, like a missed port or delay that affects your program, you can rely on us for resources (like local DMC’s, ground transport, etc.) to get you through. We’re your “insurance” for a successful cruise program.
5. You want to be known by the cruise line.
You want to be known as the buyer – as the person making the purchasing choice. And you are – but only with the one cruise line that you’re working with, if you buy direct. If you plan repeat cruise programs (and we know you will!), you will either be committed to working with the one line you’ve created relationships with, or venture out to a new line and start those relationships all over again.
At The Cruise Authority, we bring those relationships to you. After over 25 years it’s one of the things we’re most proud of – the relationships we’ve developed with all of our cruise line partners, at all levels. We grew up in the industry with many of the folks who are running the cruise line’s today and our relationships open doors – and great opportunities – for you.
6. You want to prove your worth to your company – doesn’t using a third-party sourcing company take away from that?
Baloney! Lots of companies are using third-party sourcing companies to increase their buying power with hotels. You’ll be considered the smart one in the bunch by using available resources instead of wasting your own valuable time.
Throughout the year, we offer training opportunities like webinars, seminars at sea, ship shopping events, and in-port luncheons to familiarize our clients with new ships and destinations. And our long-time clients know that they get called first when we have unique opportunities like inaugural cruises.
Become a Cruise Industry Insider
Working with The Cruise Authority gets you the inside view of the cruise industry, making you a better buyer, better negotiator and “in the know” when is comes to executing a successful cruise event
Call us today for a free group cruise consultation: (800) 326-4971 or +1(770) 952-8300
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