Did you know that business owners are taking their clients, customers and associates on cruises? Your first thought may be that the businesses must be doing this on their budget and that you could never afford to take clients or customers on a cruise. In some cases, that may be right but in most cases it is just the opposite.
Regis Philbin is the latest celebrity to be lured into special speaker status aboard Crystal cruise lines. Numerous Food Network chefs are taking to the seas to host cooking classes and rock bands have long been using cruise lines for the ultimate rock concerts.
You don’t have to be a celebrity to take advantage of seminars or classes at sea. Think about it for a minute. What would your clients or customers pay you to spend a 3 day or week long cruise with you to learn more about you and your business and how it can benefit them? Yes, that’s right, businesses are planning seminars at sea for clients and increasing their brand loyalty at the same time. Given the choice of a stuffy hotel ballroom or a long weekend aboard a cruise ship, which would you prefer to attend?
Why Group Cruising Can Work For You
Let’s explore some of the benefits of group cruising for businesses. One of the benefits for anyone who wants to host a group cruise is that with a minimum number of rooms booked, the cruise is free for the host. The minimum number varies somewhat by cruise line, so be sure to ask your travel agent. And speaking of travel agents, a tip for finding the right travel agent is to be sure they are CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) affiliated. The CLIA logo ensures you are working with a cruise professional.
Cruising offers a great way for owners to socialize, teach, mentor or train their clients. The major cruise lines will help your agent to set up the meeting room for you and make sure that all the necessary items are taken care of. You simply work with your agent to determine the parameters of the cruise (type of cruise, length, rooms needed, etc.) then you broadcast your invitation to your clients and watch them sign up. As you will be charging a fee for your services (training, mentoring, etc.) your clients pay you and you pay the agent working for you. One of my favorite benefits for the host and guests alike, is that it is easy to combine work with play on a cruise and your customers can bring along families on their working vacation, so to speak. The cruise ships have a multitude of fun things for kids and adults to keep them busy while you and your clients are “working”. The ports-of-call offer you all a chance to explore new destinations with your families or all together.
Another benefit is that just like a seminar in a hotel or other public forum, the cruise is a business expense for both you and your clients.
Cruises leave US ports year round so you are free to plan virtually anytime of year. You can plan your cruise many months in advance so you have plenty of time to prepare and give your clients time to schedule accordingly. Your agent can also give you a schedule of payment dates so neither you nor your clients have to pay the entire cost up front. After the initial deposit, the payments can be spread out over a period of time, again, varying by date and type of cruise. Groups also receive discounts above and beyond those of single passengers including on board credits and discounted rates.
Next time you are thinking of hosting a seminar or training workshop, consider making it a cruise. You and your clients will both be pleased with the new relationships you have forged.