Twinsburg, Ohio — Conferon, the large meeting planning company, has partnered with Landry & Kling, the leading cruise meetings firm, to offer enhanced services for their respective clients.
With the new service, called Events at Sea, Conferon customers arranging events on cruise ships will benefit from Landry & Kling's specific expertise, and Landry and Kling customers will be aided by such Conferon services as registration and air and hotel bookings.
"We had several clients that wanted to explore cruise-based programs," said Rick Binford, vice president of field sales at Conferon. "But increasingly, we found that cruise meetings provided unique challenges. Now, with our partnership with Landry & Kling, we have an opportunity to expand the market together."
Events at Sea will include two services currently offered by Landry & Kling. With ShipSelect, clients thumb through a portfolio, choosing among more than 200 meeting-friendly cruise ships that can accommodate from 50 to 3,000 attendees. The two companies can arrange for partial or whole-ship charters.
The other service, ShipPlanning, incorporates site inspection; on-board meetings management; on-shore activities at ports of call; and pre-boarding meetings or events.
And, if requested, a Landry & Kling planner will accompany the group during its meeting to assure smooth sailing.
Landry & Kling customers will be able to use Conferon's online and call center-assisted registration services; air travel bookings; hotel bookings before or after the cruise, if needed; and ground transportation to and from the cruise port.
The cruise meetings company also will refer to Conferon those clients planning land-only meetings.
Conferon is promoting the Events at Sea program to clients through an education initiative explaining the advantages of cruise meetings, and what types of meetings would benefit from being on a cruise.
Cruise meetings typically feature all-inclusive pricing. For groups, that usually would include food and beverage, meeting rooms, audiovisual equipment, and in some cases exclusive dining room use for attendee meals.
"Businesses might pay a larger single cost per person for a cruise meeting, but if you add up all the additional costs that can accrue for land-based meetings, often you find a better value on a cruise," said Joyce Landry, CEO of Landry & Kling.
According to the companies, there is very little overlap in their client bases. Said Binford, "We want to give our mutual clients the real benefit of buying power."