CLIA Happenings

From new training opportunitues to a brand-new member recently added to its portfolio, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is expanding its offerings, giving agents more possibilities for selling cruise vacations.

CLIA’s TrainingFest 2011 CLIA has announced the 2011 schedule for its popular TrainingFest, a 2-day traveling program of seminars, along with a tradeshow that provides travel agents the opportunity to earn up to 70 CLIA Cruise Counselor credits. TrainingFest will visit 11 cities throughout the U.S. and two locations in Canada from mid-July through Oct. 1.

This year’s program features new and updated seminars and a new Friday-Saturday schedule designed to facilitate training with minimum disruption of agency work days. CLIA will also host a complimentary Saturday morning continental breakfast for participants attending one or more seminars.

During TrainingFest, agents may take up to four seminars, choosing from two levels of courses offered in 3-hour training periods on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, the choices include: “Cruise Vacations – An Introduction and Principles of Professional Selling,” both new and updated since last year, as well as “Group Sales Made Easy and Negotiating to Win.” On Saturday, the seminars include “Power Selling Techniques,” which is also new and updated; “Cruising: Knowing the World you Sell”; “Getting Connected: A Primer on Social Media Networking”; and a brand-new seminar for 2011: “Specialty Cruising,” which focuses on the increasingly diverse nature of the cruise product offered by CLIA members, from adventure voyages to Antarctica, to European river journeys and world cruises.

Seminars are offered on Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Saturday courses follow a continental breakfast and tradeshow, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The tradeshow enables participants to meet with representatives from numerous CLIA member cruise lines to discuss product, special sales opportunities and even the individual lines’ own training programs.

Fees for TrainingFest 2011 range from $45 to $150 depending on number of seminars selected and CLIA membership. The program is open to non-members who pay slightly higher rates. Particpating cities include Houston, TX (July 15-16); New York/Flushing NY (July 22-23); Las Vegas, NV (Aug. 12-13); Orlando, FL (Aug. 26-27); Toronto, ON (Sept. 16-17); and Atlanta, GA (Sept. 23-24), among others.

Become a CLIA Accredited Cruise Manager Travel agency executives and managers can motivate their employees and demonstrate their commitment to professional development with CLIA’s new Certification Designation program.

The program, which was unveiled at this year’s cruise3sixty event in Fort Lauderdale, FL, leads to the designation of CLIA Accredited Cruise Manager (ACM) and is available to all those working in a leadership position affiliated with a CLIA member travel agency but not as a full-time selling travel agent. This may include executives, directors, accounting or marketing managers, e-commerce professionals, trainers or other positions.

The ACM program enables agency leadership personnel to complete a course of study and hands-on experience that includes personal cruise experience, ship inspections, seminars and a case study leading to Certification. Past cruise experience, training courses and product knowledge may be used to fulfill the requirements.

“The Accredited Cruise Manager designation fills a gap in our comprehensive Certification system by providing agency management with the credentials most needed to lead and motivate a sales team,” says Bob Sharak, CLIA’s executive v.p. for marketing and training. We already have Certification designations for cruise sellers at all levels of experience and knowledge; ACM ensures that everyone in the agency has demonstrated a strong commitment to the professional development that we know results in greater cruise sales.”

Within two years of enrollment, participants must complete: five ship inspections, two personal cruises of seven days or more on CLIA-member lines, one of four case study options from the areas of marketing, business plans, enhancing service and closing the sale training, and eight of 14 training seminars or other CLIA training programs. Successful completion of CLIA’s Institute Track at cruise3sixty, and achievement of The Travel Institute’s CTA, CTC, or CTIE designations may contribute toward completion of ACM requirements. The seminars included in the menu of 14 options may be taken live in a classroom or online. To facilitate completion of the requirements, enrollees in the ACM program are required to fill out a Mandatory ACM Training Journal that details what case study and which seminars are completed as well as information about cruises taken and ship inspections performed.

A nominal enrollment fee of $70 is charged to cover the cost of materials, processing exams, grading the journal and general administration. Upon completion, each Accredited Cruise Manager receives a certificate of achievement, a lapel pin, a press release for local distribution, and logo sheets to be used with business cards and stationery.