Most travel agents are not born knowing how to represent luxury travel. The good news, however, is they can learn. Platinum Seminars is a company dedicated to training travel consultants to serve the luxury market. Founded in 1992 by William W. (Bill) Brown, Platinum Seminars is backed with 17 years of industry experience. Platinum offers qualifying travel agents the opportunity to experience a luxury cruise at a familiarization rate, while participating in an on-board Seminar at Sea. Since 1992, over 20,000 travel agents have completed training on luxury vessels. Sailings offer one or more luxury sales modules written by travel industry consultants and accredited by The Travel Institute for three continuing education units. Modules are continually being modified to meet the changing luxury market, and new modules are being added to better assist representatives of the travel industry to sell in the luxury market.
Bill has sailed on over 600 cruises and is a wealth of cruise related knowledge. He has lectured at travel conventions around the country as well as luxury cruise panels. He was nominated runner up for two years in a row for Travel Executive of the Year from Travel Trade Magazine. Dana C. McPherson, Senior VP, joined the company in 1997 and is in charge of the technical and promotions side of the company. Dana McPherson brings his vast experience in customer service, computer skill and sales to the company. Together, Bill and Dana are introducing scores of travel agents to the art and science of luxury travel.
“Our seminars, combined with the luxury cruise experience, teaches agents how to appreciate life’s finer things and to relate their experiences to their clients” states Brown. “The end result is more luxury cruise sales. Everybody wins including the prestigious cruise lines, who partner with Platinum to provide the most valued Seminars at Sea in the marketplace.”
Most of the major cruise lines are used for the company’s Seminars at Sea, with a variety of exciting itineraries around the world. The seminars include a familiarization element of the cruise line the participant is on, as well as a workshop format that encompasses course work and elaborate on creative qualifying, marketing, client and market identification and closing techniques. All of the course outlines and been developed by leaders in the cruise industry. This format for educating agent promotes the individual cruise line while affording an exciting and challenging opportunity to learn.
In 2002, Bill created Platinum Luxury Society (PLS) as an organization of more than 19,000 representatives in the travel industry who are interested in learning more about luxury travel and better how to sell it. The 10th International PLS Symposium was held April 2, 2009 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl on board RCCL’s Navigator of the Seas hosted by RCCL’s Vicki Freed and Celebrity/Azamara’s Dondra Ritzenthaler. Featured Speakers were Mary Lynch of Royal Caribbean, Michelle Homoky of Celebrity/Azamara, Terry Dale of CLIA, Chris Russo of ASTA, Bert Rivero of IATAN, Cynthia Perry of Travel Insured, Thorunn Reynisdottir of Destination Europe, Randall Soy of Regent Seven Seas and Debbie Maier of Mail Pound. Platinum Seminars has also created the Platinum Luxury Specialist Designation. Agents who meet the criteria will receive a certificate of completion, a PLS lapel pin, and a news release they can place with local media to announce their designation.
“My hope,” said Brown, “is that travel agents will proudly use the PLS I designation and the PLS logo. Both are signs of professionalism and first-hand knowledge. The designation is an indication that the luxury-based agent has gone the extra mile to understand luxury products and the mindset of the upscale consumer.”
Travel agents can visit the Platinum Seminars website at http://www.platinumseminars.com/asp/seminarsview.asp to see a list of upcoming Seminars. Agents wishing to know more about the Platinum Luxury Society can sign up at http://www.platinumseminars.com/default.aspx?tabid=891.
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