The Importance Of Continuing Cruise Education

by Ming Tappin

Spending a few minutes out of your day to catch up on cruise industry news is invaluable.

Attending ship inspections allows you to see and feel the physical space.

FAM trips take you behind the scenes to learn the extras you won't get from a brochure.

The best continuing education remains to be....cruising! Bon Voyage!

As an agent starting out in the business, it is quite daunting to learn everything about selling cruises.Thankfully there is a plethora of training options available to help the newbies.

And, once you are an expert, don't forget continuing education.

Sadly, I have heard many agents who say they don't take training or attend trade functions anymore because they are "beyond" that, or don't have the time.

It's no secret that consumers are spending more and more time on the internet and logically it follows that it's essential for agents to stay ahead of the game and not be caught off guard by a client who knows more than they do.

Online publications such as Open Jaw are a great way to pick up cruise industry news. Taking 10 min. to scan the headlines and read the articles acts as a mini cruise training session every day.

Attend cruise training events whenever they are in town. Not only are they a great way to learn what's new, networking with the reps and other attendees may introduce you to new ideas and fresh approaches.

When I attend these events, I see agents come out of the training completely hyped about selling cruises. They are most definitely energy boosters providing motivation to think about how to find the next client, group, promotion idea, etc.

Webinars are a great alternative for those in remote areas or cannot make it to a live event. Being mindful of the agent's busy day, most webinars are now 30 min. or less.

Another must-attend event - CLIA's annual Cruise3Sixty conference - with tons of training, ship inspections and networking. It will take place in Vancouver next year June 1 st thru 6th. It is so worthwhile and I have learned so much from each Cruise3sixty I have attended.

If you are fortunate to live in a port city, take advantage of every ship inspection opportunity.Some allow you to bring clients onboard - a great way to educate yourself and perhaps get some bookings at the same time!

The best continuing education of course is to actually cruise! Personal experience is something no online or live training can teach you. Seminars at sea and travel agent rates are available throughout the year. You will return refreshed, recharged and ready to sell.

I would recommend that you cruise on as many different lines as possible, as it is important to know their differences. Your clients depend on your expertise for guidance and recommendation; having experienced multiple brands makes it a whole lot easier to speak confidently and close the sale.

There are lots of ways to stay educated in the cruise industry. Although we can't be at every place and do everything, select the options that work best for you. Be curious, be engaged, keep informed about your business and you will succeed. See you at the next training event!

Ming Tappin is a cruise veteran with 20 years' experience in the industry and has sailed on 36 cruises and counting. Based in Vancouver, Ming is passionate about cruising and is the Owner of Your Cruise Coach Consulting .

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