Since 2005 CLIA has been promoting the “World’s Largest Cruise Night (WLCN)” in October. This year they are promoting “National Cruise Vacation Week” from October 17-23. Here I will share one of my experiences with a WLCN event and lessons I took from it.
As home-based agents we typically do not have events in our home for a variety of reasons: insurance, working at the kitchen table, pets and kids in the way, etc. We have to find locations to give presentations, educate the public and promote travel (cruises for the purposes of this article.) We don’t have the luxury of an office space to decorate using co-op funds with rows and rows of agents taking bookings like our colleagues in a store-front location. Many times our shoestring budgets do not allow for rental facilities, tables, chairs, food, A/V and the like.
However, there are ways we can ride the promotional coattails of organizations such as CLIA and the cruise lines. Last year I found a way to promote WLCN at a cost of nothing more than my time. Hopefully you can use this in some way for your own event this year during “National Cruise Vacation Week.”
My experience began with a simple statement by a client, one I am sure you have heard from your own clients after paying a deposit: “I need to go shopping!” Based on this need to purchase cruise clothes, I approached the local Dress Barn with the idea of a Cruise Fashion Show. It turns out that each store is required to participate in community events such as this as part of their operation. They supplied the models, light snacks and a fashion announcer. I had a table and e-mail sign up/travel related giveaway and I would talk about different cruise lines, promotions and destinations during the time it took for the models (store employees) to change outfits. Each model wore three different outfits for the themes of casual port wear, formal wear and casual dinner/evening wear.
The guests had a good time but attendance was not what I had hoped. What I had not realized when I scheduled the event for a Wednesday night is that many women in the area spent Wednesday evenings at Bible study. This is one of many lessons (scheduling and otherwise) to be learned from orchestrating these events.
This idea is something with which you could approach any type of clothing store, tailoring the event to target your clients. Dress Barn just happened to be the first business to agree to my proposal, this year I am hoping for Nordstrom!
Do you have an idea on how you could host an event for National Cruise Vacation Week? Or maybe you have your own lessons learned from events in the past. Please use the comment section below to share.
Chuck Flagg is a regular contributor to TRO and an independent owner/operator of Cruise Holidays in Canton, GA. His website is www.theflaggagency.com He can be found on Twitter @theflaggagency