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Cruise Planners Unveils “Game-Changer” Vacation-Planning Tool

Cruise Planners Unveils “Game-Changer” Vacation-Planning Tool

Cruise Planners is launching a new vacation-planning tool, LivePlanner, that enables advisors to have real-time consultations with clients via an Internet browser. But, unlike other screen-sharing tools like Zoom, it enables them to push whatever content they want directly to clients’ screens, like an itinerary, videos, pricing and more.

“We know this is the first interactive tool of its kind — and we’re not even just staying in the travel sector,” said Cruise Planners CEO and founder Michelle Fee. “We think it’s anywhere, and we’re actually patent pending right at this moment. We’re pretty excited about this. We know that our agents are going to be excited about it.”

Cruise Planners’ LivePlanner logo.

Cruise Planners’ LivePlanner logo. Photo Credit: Cruise Planners

Fee called LivePlanner a “game-changer” when it comes to how travel advisors present vacation options to their clients.

Fee was speaking during a press conference prior to Cruise Planners’ annual convention, dubbed CP World, being held this month at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami and aboard the Celebrity Beyond. LivePlanner and other updates were shared with attendees Friday.

Brian Shultz, Cruise Planners’ chief information officer, said advisors will see a list of clients who are on their website within CP Maxx, its booking and customer relationship management system. They can opt to show those clients content. For instance, if the client is interested in cruising, they could show them Norwegian Cruise Line sailings that are a good fit. They also can share things like entertainment details, dining options, deck plans and more.

CP Maxx keeps track of what they’ve shown a client.

Cruise Planners has also created a more “turnkey approach” to LivePlanner with its LivePlanner Collections, said Scott Koepf, senior vice president of strategic development. 

Collections feature either destinations, brands or specific ships, resorts or tours. The content is already curated by Cruise Planners. For example, a Collection might feature the Norwegian Prima and the new features of the ship.

Advisors can also customize their own itineraries within LivePlanner. LivePlanner will also be integrated with Cruise Planners’ itinerary building tool, Trip Summary.

Sales recovering nicely

Cruise Planners executives gave an overview of 2022 sales, which are catching up to 2019, its historically best year. While Fee said the first quarter of the year was rough due to the omicron variant of Covid, things started to recover around February and March.

Fee said Cruise Planners is ending the year at 98% of its 2019 departures. Purchases are up 10% compared with 2019.

Luxury sales are up 28% compared with 2019, Koepf said. And sales of world cruises are up 89% compared with 2019. Land travel is up 18% compared with 2019.

River cruise sales are up 21% compared with 2019.

While the year was far from normal for cruising, Koepf said, the agency will end the year with 94% of the cruise business it had on the books for 2019.

Next year is looking good, too. 2023 departures year to date are up 26% compared with 2020 departures as of October 2019.

New microsites, amenity tracker coming

Cruise Planners also unveiled a number of other updates for advisors at its conference.

The Amenity Tracker, a tool within CP Maxx, will enable advisors to track perks, amenities and gifts for clients. They can easily record things like onboard credits, prepaid gratuities and more.

Advisors’ websites will soon get branded landing pages for destinations and suppliers, as well as destination microsites.

The Destination Hub will give travel advisors access to recommendations from their peers as well as information on destinations from Fodors. Advisors can leave personal recommendations on hotels, restaurants, tours and activities.

The Find a Hotel tool, powered by Navitrip, will give advisors visibility into their commission, hotel details and client savings on more than 100,000 hotels and resorts. They can also adjust their commission and savings for clients with a toggle bar.