Silversea’s online beta testing of a lead referral program has some agents angry; they say their booked clients who filled in forms on the website are being contacted by America’s Vacation Center.
The idea behind the initiative was that agencies which produce $1 million a year or more for Silversea would be allowed to respond to leads generated through Silversea.com. But it didn’t work out that way, as Silversea V.P. Sales Steve Tucker explains
“We began testing with America’s Vacation Center, as they have a proven track record with lead referral and follow up with a number of cruise partners,” he says. “Unfortunately, something went wrong with the transfer of data.”
Tucker says referred leads weren’t purged of people who were already booked with the line through other agents. “This was a mistake on Silversea Cruises part, one which we’re very sorry occurred,” says Tucker. “But that’s exactly what happened, and that’s exactly why we beta test.”
Silversea has ended the test and hopes to launch an improved lead referral model within three to six months. It will only be open to a chosen few, however, as there are fewer than two dozen agencies producing $1 million or more for Silversea annually. “Plus, there will be criteria that will need to be followed,” says Tucker. “Just because you’re a million-dollar producer doesn’t mean you will automatically get leads if your business model is not conducive to following up on leads.”
How quick that follow-up needs to be hasn’t been established. “We don’t know if it will be 30 minutes, but they will need to be followed up quickly and efficiently,” says Tucker. “Also, any landing page needs to be dedicated to Silversea Cruises.”
Other criteria include meeting a certain close ratio. “We’re also going to be relaunching our website (likely within three to six months), so we’ve been waiting to go out with any interactive marketing until the new website is launched, which will result in even more leads to share with our travel partners,’ says Tucker.