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Celebrity Cruises’ Nicola McNeish: ‘Navigating the storm as one industry’

Celebrity Cruises head of sales Nicola McNeish

Celebrity Cruises head of sales Nicola McNeish says the line is forever grateful for the support it has received from travel agents and explains why it has put communication at the forefront of its response to the pandemic.

What an exciting month it has been for Celebrity Cruises. The incredible Celebrity Beyond, a ship that goes beyond expectations and defies imagination, was revealed to the public and more importantly, will embark on her inaugural sailing from Southampton one year from now.

Our incredible assembly of world-renowned designers and architects have taken the award-winning design of Celebrity Edge and amplified every area on the ship, and our UK guests will be the first to experience this new world of luxury at sea.

If there’s anything that 2020 has shown, it is that the travel industry is resilient, flexible and so very collaborative. When I look back on the last year, I am amazed at the incredible way that everyone has pulled together to work towards the shared goal of the resumption of international travel.

We couldn’t have navigated this storm without our incredible trade partners. It’s been more important than ever to support agents, to be where they need us to be and to keep those conversations happening.

Communication has played a key role in keeping businesses buoyant, so we’ve ensured that however an agent wants to contact us, we’re there – instant messages, virtual conversations and our highly successful webchat, which we launched at the start of the pandemic.

Celebrity Cruises' third ship in the Edge class Celebrity Beyond will sail its maiden voyage from Southampton
Celebrity Beyond will sail its maiden voyage from Southampton in April 2022.

Support for travel agents

We launched Conversations with Celebrity earlier this year. This is a new collection of training, including the first-ever agent-dedicated podcast, as well as live interviews, immersive videos and exclusive virtual events.

The podcast is the latest part of our trade programme and is specifically aimed at inspiring and entertaining our trade agents. The feedback we’ve received has been really positive.

Celebrity Central remains the dedicated trade platform for Celebrity Cruises and is consistently updated with all the information and tools that agents need.

Just recently, we’ve launched a virtual selling guide, two new courses in our Celebrity Passport training programme and a selection of toolkits, covering revolutionised Celebrity Silhouette’s return to Southampton, including a bank of social media assets.

We know that times have been tough and a lot of businesses have teams that are smaller due to furlough. To make things as easy as possible, we pulled together a Welcome Back Agents flyer – a one-stop-shop reference point for agents to find the latest Celebrity news, selling guides, live chat links and more.

Our trade support team is also sharing HTML templates of emails that are built and ready to go, as we know marketing teams can be under resourced at the moment.

Personally, I can’t wait to be back out on the road to catch up with our expert travel agents. To sit down over a cup of coffee, sharing the latest news, is the dream right now.

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