Since 1982, Landry & Kling has planned and operated hundreds of events at sea – from high-profile global meetings to special interest theme cruises (and everything in between). So when the company received a Request For Proposal from a bowling & billiards company, Joyce Landry and the team know precisely which cruise ship and itinerary to recommend. One particular ship would accommodate their program needs and deliver a little something extra to seal the deal.
The Program Challenges
Landry & Kling’s client is the marketing manager for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He outlined the company’s meeting specs, and put his four big concerns on the table.
1) Perception Issues: Before presenting a cruise option, our client had to convince his colleagues and decision-makers that meeting at sea was a viable alternative to a land-based event. They were skeptical, thinking that a cruise would be too expensive. After all, this was a distributor meeting – not an incentive program. The focus would be on training, support, and business growth. Fun was not part of the equation, especially if it increased meeting expenses.
2) International Attendees: Exclusive distributors from 18 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as North America, would be attending the event. With past meetings held in cities like Bangkok, Prague and Cape Town; a cruise ship – particularly one sailing in the Caribbean – would be an out-of-the-box choice. Would attendees be pleased with the venue?
3) Single Accommodations: Attendees at the distributor meeting required solo accommodations, and this also concerned our client. He knew that cruise lines typically charge a single supplement fee of up to 200% for solo passengers – would this make the cruise option financially unfeasible?
4) Time and Space for Meetings: And finally, they needed appropriate facilities for their meetings, with enough hours in the agenda to accommodate all 13 business sessions. An itinerary that included multiple days at sea – in addition to alluring ports of call – was a critical requirement.
After our client and the L&K team discussed the company’s concerns and requirements for their distributor meeting, it was clear that there was one perfect cruise solution: Norwegian Epic, sailing seven nights in the Caribbean. Here’s why:
Value: Remember those perception issues that a cruise was “too expensive”? Our client went back to his senior decision makers with a venue option that was way more cost-effective (and more inclusive) than the five-star hotels they were accustomed to using. They were “bowled over” by the advantages of a meeting at sea.
Single Accommodations: Norwegian Cruise Line was the first cruise line to introduce ship accommodations for modern solo travelers – with no additional single supplement fee. We were able to book all 29 solo attendees in the “Studio Staterooms” on Norwegian Epic. Another bonus – exclusive access to the Studio Lounge, a trendy spot where attendees could socialize, collaborate, share ideas, and grab a coffee or cocktail after meetings. They loved having a private lounge reserved just for them.
Meeting Matters: Norwegian Epic’s seven-night itinerary offered the ideal balance of land and sea for the group. Three full days at sea provided ample time for all 13 meetings, so attendees were free to enjoy optional excursions during port days in St. Martin, St. Thomas, and the Bahamas.
The ship provided excellent facilities and meeting space to support the company’s business objectives and group events. And, use of meeting rooms and Audio Visual equipment was included – a big cost-savings plus!
Although the seven-night cruise made the Norwegian Epic program longer than their typical distributor meetings, the attendees loved having extra time to network, build relationships, and discuss the program content. Of course, visiting multiple tropical islands during the course of the meeting created an additional level of excitement.
As Joyce Landry observed: “It was a really balanced event, with a lot of meeting content, camaraderie, and time off the ship. People had time to share ideas because they were together more than they would have been had they done a land program.”
Built-in Fun: Our client doesn’t have anything against fun – after all, their business model is based on fun and team spirit! They just didn’t want to pay for it. But guess what? On the Norwegian Epic, the fun was built right in!
After meetings, attendees had plenty of complimentary activities and recreational facilities to choose from on board the ship. Not to mention a variety of evening entertainment options including Blue Man Group, Second City Comedy, live music clubs, and South Beach-style dance parties on deck. And of course, adventures ashore!
And finally, there was one more feature that made Norwegian Epic the perfect ship for this meeting: six bowling lanes onboard. And here’s the kicker – one of the attendee’s companies had installed them! Our client’s group event at the Bliss Bowling Alley was a highlight of the program.