Vancouver-based Expedia CruiseShipCenters and Boston-based World Travel Holdings have been named Carnival Cruise Lines’ “Travel Agencies of the Year” for 2009.
Expedia CruiseShipCenters and World Travel Holdings were selected from more than 30,000 cruise-selling travel agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada. Candidates demonstrate the ability to grow as a business partner, as well as exhibiting exceptional professionalism, enthusiasm and innovation in sales and marketing techniques.
Joni Rein, Carnival’s Vice President of worldwide sales, noted that the two winners, while equally deserving candidates, follow distinctly different business models.
Established in 1987, Expedia CruiseShipCenters leverages one of the most recognizable names in travel and is highly regarded for its wide-ranging technology expertise. In addition to its top-rated booking engine, Expedia CruiseShipCenters operates 116 retail locations in Canada as well as a franchise model in the U.S. and a successful home-based agency network with more than 2,600 highly trained cruise consultants.
World Travel Holdings, co-founded by Brad and Jeff Tolkin in 2005, takes a multi-faceted approach, owning and/or operating some of the top cruise Web sites, including Cruise411.com, CruisesOnly.com, and Cruises.com, as well as two of the most successful home-based agencies in CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.
Rein noted that while World Travel Holdings and Expedia CruiseShipCenters take varying business approaches, one constant is their commitment to innovation and superior service provided to their clients. Because of this, both companies reported record Carnival bookings for the past year.
“Despite a challenging economy, these two agencies continue to thrive, investing in the latest technology and training and employing knowledgeable cruise professionals who go the extra mile to offer personalized, hands-on service to their clients,” she said. “The entrepreneurial spirit, keen understanding of consumer trends, and strong support of the cruise industry have enabled World Travel Holdings and Expedia CruiseShipCenters both to become leaders in our industry,” she added.
Michael Drever, CEO and founder of Expedia CruiseShipCenters, commented, “Carnival is an important part of our Customers For Life strategy and receiving this award is a result of the strong partnership we have enjoyed for over 22 years. In 2009, Expedia CruiseShipCenters significantly increased our investment in marketing, training and technology, which is why we continue to experience record sales growth and recognition as industry leaders.”