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conference report news Elite Conference 2010 • June 3-4 • Independence of the Seas

Plan to launch specialist cruise insurance policy

HOLIDAY EXTRAS plans to introduce a specialist cruise insurance policy designed exclusively for the sector.

Paul Dayson, managing partner at Spa Travel, receives an award from Royal Caribbean’s Kate Simpson (left) and Lisa Clarkson for achieving the highest percentage increase in the line’s cruise sales

VENUE. Ship conferences shelved

ELITE WILL not hold its conference on a cruise ship for several years after a lower attendance than in previous years. A total of 19 agencies at- tended the conference on Independence of the Seas along with suppliers and principal partners. Chairman Wayne Darrock attributed the turnout to the event taking place on board a cruise ship during the half-term holidays. “We had the conference booked on board this ship two years ago,” he said. “But then the down- turn hit and we had to move it.” Darrock said the only other time the ship was sailing the Southampton–Le Havre itinerary was over the August bank holiday. Elite thought more people would be away in August, so decided to hold it over this half-term. Agents who did attend gave Elite good feed- back on the event. But Darrock said the conference would not be held on a ship again for at least a few years. “It’s a superb product,” he said, “but you are a

bit more limited with a ship. You can only do this route twice a year, and you have to think about the price, cabins, and if people only want to come for a day.” The consortium revealed that next year’s con-

ference will be in Jersey at the Hotel de France in St Helier, from September 30 to October 3. Darrock said he hoped Spain would host a con-

ference soon, as well as the UK, following the success of last year’s Bournemouth event.

TOAST TO GOLD MEDAL: Elite members toast the first night of the conference with cocktails, courtesy of Gold Medal. From left: Andrea Elwell, Holiday Autos; John McDon- ald, Micros-Travel; Cheryl Thompson, Hoseasons; and Lauren Whittaker, Micros-Travel.

11.06.2010 11

During the Elite conference, Holiday Extras’ head of insurance, Andrea Clayton, told TTGthat the industry was “crying out for a cruise special- ist product”. “Operators have been waiting for someone to come up with a product like this for a while now,” she said. “If a customer is paying a lot for a holiday, they want a policy that is specifically catered towards that trip.” Clayton said the idea

Agents would benefit from the insurance

product, she said. “Typically, agents earn 30% commission when they sell insurance, but with this product, they would be looking at upwards of 40%.”

Although Royal Caribbean offered cruise

“Operators have been waiting for someone to come up with a product like this for a while now” Andrea Clayton

arose after speaking with members of the Association of Cruise Experts at the Advantage conference last month. Although travel insurance policies covered cruises, Clayton said there were often discrep- ancies over what was included, such as pre-booked excursions.

insurance, no other insurance products were tailored to the cruise market, said Clayton. “There is a real need for this. It would bene- fit cruise customers and agents would be able to receive higher commission on it, or use it as a discounting tool when selling cruise holidays.”

Holiday Extras hopes the product will be ready as early as September 1. Clayton said it was hoped the cruise product would echo the success of the firm’s coach insur- ance policy, which was introduced recently and is now one of its top-selling products.

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