Our client thought a private cruise ship charter was the only way to make their sales meeting at sea extraordinary for his top sales leaders. But the group size turned out to be too big for the ship he wanted, and too small for a cost-efficient charter of a larger vessel. What creative solution turned out to be just right?

The Sales Meeting at Sea Requirements

A global communications company wanted to charter a cruise ship for their 21st annual meeting for top sales leaders so they could customize the experience and provide exclusivity for their group of 380. Their program had to be in April, and the itinerary had to accommodate an intense business schedule that included 2 morning meetings, breakouts, a board meeting, nightly receptions, induction of new members, and their annual golf tournament – all during a 3-night cruise!

Program Challenge

The ship we initially recommended was too small for the number of people who were to be invited. Unlike an incentive or recognition program, this was a prestigious annual meeting by “invitation” that no one declined, so a group allotment on a larger ship was proposed for the sales meeting at sea.

The company was doubtful that this important meeting would work on a ship because there were major A/V needs and their agenda had to be coordinated with the availability of function rooms on the ship. Most important, the ship’s itinerary didn’t seem to allow enough time to fit in the golf tournament plus the full meeting agenda.

Landry & Kling’s Elegant Solutions

Exclusivity: We identified the necessary function space and negotiated them into the cruise contract, securing exclusive use of all public rooms as needed. As our client’s advocate, we worked with the cruise line to create private events for 380 attendees and guests on the 1,600-passenger ship. Their meetings, receptions, investiture of new members, photo session, beach bar, team building, and golf tournament with lunch were all customized and exclusive to the group. We also negotiated a delayed ship departure from Nassau to facilitate a full 18-hole tournament.

Cost Savings: There were no costs for meeting breaks or use of the ship’s sophisticated A/V equipment. And there were other significant savings since our client didn’t need to cost in ballroom decor, floral arrangements, entertainment, freight or A/V technicians. A carefully timed agenda and transportation for the tournament players as well as the clubs to/from the golf course resulted in a full and productive agenda.

The Results

  • The company said this first cruise was their best meeting in 21 years.
  • The cost of the sales meeting at sea (including air) was $220,000 less than their previous resort program!