Ron Gulaskey, Celebrity Cruises; Christine Winchester, TPI & Vanessa at Vegas Virtuoso.
First of all I sincerely want to congratulate Celebrity Cruises for their big leap of faith and their spot-on instinct (and guts) in airing such a fantastic new commercial this week. I saw it for the first time after the Presidential debate (to which I was glued – Go Hillary Go…) on Monday night. And then again on CNN the next morning. If you’re in the twitter world then the hashtag is #beyondborders.
The ad, named “FarAway” revolves around being inclusive in this world and shows some beautiful scenery and exceptional places, juxtaposed on each other and the message is clear. Get beyond the rhetoric, be inclusive, travel to see and learn and share and most importantly “Sail Beyond Borders”. Don't build walls - tear them down. It is a very powerful 30 sec. piece that doesn’t even show a cruise ship – impressive and a really substantive message at a very timely moment in the current political scenario and in our war-torn world full of too much strife and xenophobia.
I like that Celebrity has stepped out from the fray and also up and away with an impassioned and thoughtful message that says a lot – both obviously and more importantly, how they think in the boardroom and backrooms. To my mind, that is almost more important.
Here are the words from the commercial:
Far from the talk of building walls Far from the threats of keeping people out Far from the rhetoric of fear Is a world of differences Differences that expand and enrich us Because, after all, our lives aren’t made better when we close ourselves off to the world They’re made better when we open ourselves up to it. Celebrity Cruises
Bravo Celebrity – and beautifully said with wonderful and clever imagery. As people know, I have always been a huge fan going back to Zenith, Horizon and Meridian days in the early 90’s and I still applaud all that you do as a cruise line both onboard, for your guests and as a global citizen. I can’t wait to see your new Edge ships and I have to say the Solstice Class vessels are some of the most beautiful in the world. So - Lisa and Dondra and all of your Celebrity colleagues from around the world, heralding from 50 countries - you go too!
Now back to the other message I have for you. I just spent the weekend with some long-standing friends who are in their early to mid-60’s, very active and involved and who also travel extensively. They are all finally retired after successful careers and typical baby boomers. And trust me, they are #beyondborders people too.
But sad to say, these 2 couples rarely use a travel advisor for their bookings. And I am quite fussed about this. Now they clearly have the time to do their own research – I get that. If you’re savvy and have the time, a lot of at-home research can be done. But mistakes can and will be made and just going on Expedia to book hotel rooms doesn’t always get you the right hotel in the right city when you want it. As other 60-something pals of mine did recently either - those people are in Italy spending a month right now and absolutely didn’t know the better places to see or where they should have actually booked their stays. I stepped in last week and sent them a long e-mail full of ideas, restaurants, must-see spots and more. If they’d used an agent with a depth of knowledge about Italy, then I just know it would have not only saved them a lot of time but they would have had a much better vacation. And quite likely a less-expensive one too (and with the right length of time in each area - not what they have now).
Two of my friends are also off to Italy in a few weeks and again, they are spending a month and ended up booking with a U.S. supplier – no protection from Ontario if anything goes wrong. They have to fly to the U.S. to connect to Milan. But they booked it because of price – and indeed it is a fantastic price. However, again they don’t have all the info they require or a personal advisor who has worked with them on curating an experience entirely suited to their needs, wants and budget.
I don’t have an answer to this other than there are a whole slew of well-off potential clients out there who are undertaking the task of being their own travel professional. And they succeed to some degree but they are under-serving themselves. We need to remind them of this but we also need superb travel professionals who are willing, ready and able to step up and out (like Celebrity) into a brave new world and let these travellers know that they can give them the right experience with consultation that is worth paying for and that will ensure a better vacation – in every way. And I’m willing to help in any way I can.