Seattle, WA, November 19, 2008 – Holland America Line is introducing two creative new tools to help travel professionals capitalize on more cruise business by booking groups. The Winemakers GAP Package and the Wedding GAP Package expand Holland America Line’s Group Advantage Program (GAP), the most comprehensive group amenities program in the cruise industry.
“These packages offer travel agents two more opportunities to book groups and ensure those groups enjoy exciting onboard experiences,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Groups are one of the most effective ways for agents to increase revenue, and now they can sell the new Winemakers and Wedding GAP Packages in addition to Holland America Lineâ€™s Culinary Arts Center and Family Reunion Group programs.â€
The Winemakers GAP Package is designed for groups of wine enthusiasts and those who simply want to learn more about the complex world of wine, often in conjunction with the cruise destination. Travel professionals can organize a group around a winemaker, sommelier or local restaurant. Groups can bring their own wine on board for the tasting and Winemakers Lunch – ideal for winemakers wishing to showcase their wines – or opt to focus on the fine wines that Holland America Line serves on board with special wine tastings conducted by Holland America Line Cellar Masters.
With the Winemakers GAP Package, each group receives two one-hour wine tastings in either the main dining room or the Pinnacle Grill restaurant, a Winemakers Lunch with a pairing of three wines in the Pinnacle Grill, and a choice of either chocolate-dipped strawberries or Holland America Line commemorative bottle of wine per stateroom. The package requires a minimum of 25 guests.
The Wedding GAP Package lets couples create their own special, on-board celebration shared by their family and friends. The wedding couple enjoys a free stateroom upgrade with a minimum of eight staterooms booked and free wedding cake for up to 16 guests. The wedding group enjoys a Pinnacle Grill lunch, private wine tasting and chocolate-covered strawberries and bottle of Chase Limogere Brut in their staterooms. Groups larger than 16 guests are accommodated for the wedding cake reception with a nominal charge per additional guest.
“Holland America Line is adding these new group programs because we’re seeing a strong, increasing trend toward affinity groups and celebration travel,” said Meadows. “These groups can come from service organizations, reunions, religious groups or people who share a common interest such as gourmet cooking, dancing or financial planning. It also includes what we call celebration group travel â€” or families cruising together for a wedding, anniversary or multi-generational reunion.
“Holland America Line is especially ideal for these family groups because we offer something for all ages â€“ from on-board programs, including our award-winning Club HALÂ® for children and teens, to popular ports of call with extraordinary shore excursions.”
Meadows said Holland America Line also provides incentive GAP amenities based on GAP points earned and length of cruise. Travel professionals can then select amenities that best customize and enhance the cruise for each particular group to make its cruising experience exceptional – and a source of repeat business. Such amenities include private wine tastings, coffee cards and water sports equipment rentals on Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award-winning private Caribbean island.
In addition to flyers on the above programs, Holland America Line offers a 36-page brochure “Developing Group Business,” which details Holland America Line’s Group Advantage Program (GAP), its special programs and incentive amenities. The brochure provides comprehensive information on how to grow agency revenue by booking groups, how to identify, target and sell to those groups, and how to best utilize Holland America Line’s group programs and promotion tools for maximum success.
For more details on the new Winemakers and Wedding GAP Packages, other GAP programs and to download/order “Developing Group Business,” visit www.hollandamerica.com and click on the Travel Agent Headquarters link. Travel agents will also find Holland America Line’s popular advanced industry training course available here with chapters on group sales. HAL Academy is designed to help travel professionals increase their knowledge of the cruise industry, features of Holland America Line and successful sales techniques.