Travel Counsellors sail into the world of cruising at the CLIA Annual Conference

Did you know that as part of your franchise fee as a Travel Counsellor, one of the many things you get access to is CLIA membership? For those who don’t know, CLIA is the Cruise Lines International Association, and each year they host a huge conference in Southampton packed with seminars, ship visits, and socials. And that’s exactly where a group of Travel Counsellors and Support Hub colleagues headed last week.

For Travel Counsellors, the long weekend started with an exclusive pre-conference session hosted by Disney. Just for Travel Counsellors’ franchisees and colleagues, the event was a chance for our business owners to put on their Mickey Mouse ears and learn more about the magic of a Disney Cruise.

The first day of the conference started with seminars from industry experts and leaders, plus a surprise guest appearance from McFly’s Harry Judd who spoke about his stint on Celebrity Race Across the World. The afternoon also featured a range of giveaways, with eight of our Travel Counsellors winning fabulous prizes – including a Virgin Voyages cruise complete with afternoon tea with Sir Richard Branson himself! Following the sessions, there was a trade fair where our business owners could chat with cruise suppliers and build those all-important relationships.

Day two was all about ship visits, as our business owners stepped on board Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess, Cunard’s Queen Anne, and Silversea’s Silver Dawn.

More than just a quick look around, the ship visits included a guided tour of the key areas and facilities (as well as free time to explore independently), a chance to sample the food in one of the restaurants, and a glimpse of what to expect from the onboard entertainment – giving Travel Counsellors the opportunity to experience almost every element of the ship first-hand. Plus, there were brand presentations and opportunities to talk with representatives from each of the cruise lines, so our franchisees could ask questions and brush up their knowledge to pass onto their customers.

After a busy day of ship visits, our franchisees put on their dancing shoes for the glamorous ‘sail away’ party – a chance to dance the night away while enjoying food and entertainment themed on different cruise destinations around the globe.

More ship visits followed on day three, with P&O Cruises’ Iona, Fred Olsen’s Borealis, and the MSC Virtuosa all in dock and ready to be explored.

The theme of this year’s CLIA Conference was ‘destinations’, highlighting how cruising allows customers to experience multiple destinations while only having to unpack their suitcase once. It was the biggest CLIA Conference to date, with over 850 attendees from across the travel industry.

It’s safe to say our business owners had a fantastic weekend and have come back armed with a wealth of expertise that will allow them to better advise their customers and boost their cruise sales.

Here at Travel Counsellors, we understand the importance of experiencing products for yourself. That’s why we have a constant stream of familiarisation trips, ship visits, and training sessions that our franchisees can take advantage of – and that’s all thanks to our strong and long-standing relationships with suppliers and travel industry bodies all around the world.

Want to join a community of like-minded travel lovers where you’re empowered to learn and expand your knowledge? We’re committed to helping you be your best, so get in touch to unlock your potential as a travel entrepreneur.

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