VP of Marketing Alicia Linden and VP of Technology Sandi Szalay announce new initiatives and COO Debbie Fiorino delivers motivational address.
FORT LAUDERDALE , FLA. – On the first full day at sea of the Dream Vacations and CruiseOne National Conference aboard the Carnival Celebration, Senior Vice President and General Manager Drew Daly led a discussion with Vice President of Marketing Alicia Linden and Vice President of IT Sandi Szalay looking back on the year that was and what lies ahead for the travel agency franchise.
Linden recapped the dynamic marketing campaigns including boat billboards that hugged the Florida coastline, national HULU commercials, and of course, the Times Square billboard in the heart of Manhattan. The towering Dream Vacations ad provided immense brand exposure with 18 million impressions, new lead generation and drove a 10 percent increase in website traffic during the campaign timeframe. Linden promised more of these opportunities in 2024 including regional TV placements throughout the country, national commercials on streaming services, and more regional digital billboard opportunities.
Daly’s focus then turned to Szalay for a check-in on how the Dream Vacations and CruiseOne network rallied around the award-winning groups application after the initiative was announced at last year’s conference. She revealed that group sales are up more than double every year prior going back to 2017. Szalay informed the crowd about the MarTech teams’ commitment to deliver on the network’s wish list and previewed some exciting upgrades to Cruise Control, the network’s proprietary customer relationship manager (CRM), shopping & booking platform and groups application. Linden and Szalay announced the next major MarTech project in 2024 will be working on customizable and optimized websites for Dream Vacations and CruiseOne travel advisors.
“This joint session was a great way to showcase how our ‘MarTech’ teams work closely together on many goals and projects that support our network,” said Daly. “With the strength of these two teams, we are able to produce advanced technologies that automate, simplify and optimize the marketing tools we deliver to our network of travel advisors.”
During Sunday’s general session, World Travel Holdings Senior Vice President of Product & Operations David Crooks sat down with Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy for a Q&A. Duffy shared valuable insights as well as her vision and outlook for 2024. She also credited the Dream Vacations and CruiseOne network of travel advisors for playing a pivotal role in the incredible year the travel industry is enjoying. Crooks also spearheaded a panel on Monday, playfully named “Spill the Tea”, where attendees got the inside scoop from suppliers on updates and changes within their brands. The “Spill the Tea” panel was composed of:
Barbara Julian, Key Account Manager, Celebrity Cruises
Koreen McNutt, SVP Sales and Trade Relations, MSC Cruises
Robert Coleman, Vice President Sales, Holland America Line
Chris Posada, Director of Strategic and National Accounts, Norwegian Cruise Line
Carmen Roig, Vice President Sales, Princess Cruises
Adolfo Perez, SVP, Global Sales & Trade Marketing, Carnival Cruise Line
Vicki Freed, SVP, Sales & Trade Support & Services, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
With the theme of “Focus,” Chief Operating Officer of Owned Brands for World Travel Holdings, the parent company of Dream Vacations/CruiseOne, Debbie Fiorino delivered a powerful message about maximizing what you can control and minimizing what you cannot. Fiorino expressed how successful people design the life they want by removing negative thoughts and distractions as well as things that no longer serve them so they have room to focus on what’s working.
“During my address at last year’s Forward Conference, I posed the question, ‘how could we progress and improve every single day to ensure we are winning?’ This year, our travel advisors proved they know how to move forward and how to win,” said Fiorino, chief operating officer of owned brands for World Travel Holdings. “When our agents zero in and focus, they progress and improve. We saw that firsthand with our incredible effort during Wave season that endured the whole year. I look forward to seeing the amazing wins our advisors have next year with their reinvigorated focus.”
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.