It would be an understatement to say the global coronavirus pandemic is morphing the entire travel and cruise industry landscape at the moment. The business downturn continues to exacerbate as tens of thousands of travel and tourism jobs are paused in an effort to ride out this storm.
Social distancing and gathering restrictions do, however, present an opportunity for travel advisors to use this time during the business downturn to their advantage and brush-up on their product knowledge, or finalise modules of an e-learning travel partner program they may have set aside for a quieter time.
Starting with the cruise industry, LATTE has compiled a list of some of the online learning courses and modules readily accessible for luxury cruise lines, offering travel advisors the chance to enhance or refresh their knowledge and skills. We’ve also asked the local executives from some of the top cruise lines for their feedback.
We started with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia.
CLIA Members Hub
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia is preparing to launch its new online education platform that will bring new features, new content and streamlined services, all designed to make travel agents’ work easier and boost their cruise education.
A key change will be the introduction of dedicated areas for individual cruise lines, allowing agents to access information such as BDM contact lists, view webinars, download brochures, find news and promotions, and take up cruise line training.
Peter Kollar, Head of International Training & Development for CLIA Australasia said:
“Combining the existing CLIA Learning Academy and CLIA Member Hub, the new system will create a better and more cohesive experience for travel agent users.
“For CLIA travel agents using the existing Learning Academy, those currently working on electives or Oceans of Opportunity will need to complete them by the end of April, as partially complete work cannot be transferred to the new system. New education opportunities will then be available via the new platform when it is launched.”
Travel agent members now have a chance to be involved in its early launch phase. CLIA members who would like to take part in beta-testing the system ahead of its debut should email training-aus@cruising.
The Crystal Academy
Agents are invited to become a Crystal Specialist by completing The Crystal Academy’s four modules covering:
- The World of Crystal
- Crystal Cruises
- Crystal River Cruises
- Crystal Expedition Cruises
Karen Christensen, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Australasia said:
“The world of travel may have taken a collective pause, however, the industry’s passion for bringing clients life-enriching experiences carries on and for those advisors who find themselves with the time, Crystal’s four-module training academy is rich in information and inspiration. Across the world’s great oceans, along the grand rivers of Europe and into iconic yachting harbours and remote destinations by expedition, discover how the Crystal Experience has received more World’s Best and Readers’ Choice awards than any other cruise line.”
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Introduced in May last year as a sign of its commitment and support to travel partners, the RegenTrade Hub comprises six modules:
- An Unrivalled Experience
- The Fleet
- The Suites
- On Shore (coming soon)
Lisa Pile, Vice President and General Manager of Regent Seven Seas Cruises ANZ told LATTE the modules have been designed more so for new-to-Regent sellers. Modules takes between five to 10 minutes to complete, and feature a video and reading component followed by a short multiple-choice questionnaire.
Ms Pile said the current period provides advisors with a “perfect opportunity to brush up their knowledge” and to better appreciate the itineraries available.
“The best part is that agents are awarded two CLIA accreditation points for each completed module.”
RegenTrade Hub also equips travel partners with toolkits, downloadable customisable content, images, videos and more. See regentrade.com/au
The Scenic Group’s Agent Academy offers a “one-stop” platform for product training courses across the company’s land programs, river and ocean cruising. Developed in partnership with key travel partners, the Agent Academy acts as a central point for detailed product training and updates.
Agent Academy portal provides unlimited 24-hour access on any digital device, with the ability to return mid-course allowing agents to learn at their own pace and convenience.
Courses available include a Scenic Eclipse overview module and Antarctica specific component. Future Scenic Eclipse modules are in the pipeline for the Americas, Arctic & Fjords and Europe.
The latest modules cover a course on Express Book and Scenic Group’s newest entity, Emerald Yacht Cruising.
Further courses available through the Agent Academy focus on:
- Scenic Europe River Cruising
- Scenic South East Asia River Cruising
- Introduction to Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
- Evergreen Europe River Cruising
- Evergreen South East Asia River Cruising
- Introduction to Evergreen Cruises & Tours
Seabourn’s curriculum provides travel advisors with five CLIA Accreditation Points towards CLIA Accreditation. Academy graduates are also able to access reduced “Appreciation Fares” on cruises up to 14 days duration, priced at $235 per person per day based on double occupancy, or $470 per day on single occupancy (plus taxes). Requests are only accepted for sailings within 90 days of departure. Download the application with terms and conditions here.
Tony Archbold, Senior Director of Sales for Seabourn said:
“Seabourn Academy is a highly recognised training scheme that has been widely acclaimed by advisors in Australia and across the world. Once completed we have seen advisors increase their proficiency in making Seabourn sales and in introducing their clients to the inspiring world of Seabourn. The completion of the course on many occasions results in increased luxury sales overall.”
The Silversea Academy consists of 10 Badges, some of which are currently being refreshed and will be updated by the end of next week. At the moment the list of badges includes:
- Silversea Graduate
- Silver Muse
- Silver Cloud
- Silver Explorer
- Silver Origin
- Expedition Cruise Expert
- Expedition World Cruise 2021
Another useful asset is the Selling Silversea guide. The 44-page PDF discusses information such as the luxury cruise line’s customer demographic, booking management timelines, regional itineraries and more.
Destination Guides are also available for Antarctica, Russian Far East and Alaska and the Arctic.
Steve Richards, Director of Sales – Australia and New Zealand, said:
“Silversea’s online learning platform Silversea Academy is a great solution to the current challenges of not being able to physically interact with our trade partners. Our training modules provide travel agents with a high-quality Silversea education, with the added benefit of learning at their own pace, wherever they currently are. Silversea offers a huge variety of product – with 1,000 destinations, more than any other cruise line, and both Expedition and Classic style cruising.
“We are also going through a huge amount of growth with five new ships on order, so there is plenty to learn and now is the perfect opportunity to do so,” Richards said.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Uniworld University expands advisor skills, enabling them to go behind the scenes of the luxury river cruise line’s fleet. The three-module course offers sales tools to assist advisors best sell Uniworld and U River Cruises. Upon graduation, they’ll have access to the industry’s best benefits and become a Uniworld Preferred Specialist. Perks include special agent rates across Uniworld and U River Cruises.
Zoe Dean, Head of Marketing – Australia, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection commented:
“We have had many requests in recent weeks for our training programs, in fact, we are currently working on a new module for Uniworld which will engage agents even further.
“In the new module advisors will learn more about the Uniworld difference, from our one-of-a-kind luxurious cruise experiences to our magnificent destinations, including our newest destination, the Peruvian Amazon. We are also busy preparing and developing some online training videos to bring the Uniworld experience to life even further. During these unprecedented times, we encourage agents to learn more about the travel brands they love, as we are going to get through this, and we are in this together.”
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