Cruise Meetings: Landry & Kling Launches Version 2.0

Nearly three years after it launched — which it claims is the first and only web portal dedicated exclusively to the cruise meetings market — cruise meetings company Landry & Kling has introduced "Version 2.0" of the website, which allows meeting and incentive planners to negotiate directly with cruise lines, it announced last week.

Using Version 2.0, meeting and incentive professionals can send a custom electronic Request for Proposal (e-RFP) to their choice of up to five cruise lines, allowing them to directly engage suppliers to secure competitive all-inclusive group pricing without paying third-party fees.

Landry & Kling is positioning the site — which allows group planners to search and choose destinations, dates and ships; view cruise brand mini sites; and compare ships' itineraries and facilities side by side — as the cruise equivalent of hotel sourcing sites like Cvent and StarCite. Its cruise marketing partners include Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Lindblad Expeditions, Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea Cruises and Voyages to Antiquity.

"Carnival is very committed to increasing our corporate and incentive group business," said John Diulus, managing director, Strategic Partnerships, Carnival Cruise Lines. "We're happy to work with — their online group RFP helps us turn quotes around more quickly to achieve our goals."

Added Lori Cassidy, director, Corporate, Incentive & Charter Sales, Royal Caribbean International, "We believe will expand our access to all the meeting and event planners we wish we could call on in person. We are 'built for business' with a fleet of 22 innovative ships cruising worldwide, so we're thrilled to partner with Seasite. They continue to lead the way for group buyers everywhere to connect more efficiently with the cruise industry."

According to Landry & Kling, which cites data from travel industry research firm PhoCusWright — recently acquired by Successful Meetings' parent company, Northstar Travel Media — the number of group planners who intend to use a cruise venue increased by one-third last year, growing from 6 percent in 2009 to 8 percent in 2010. In the first six months of 2011, it claims, that increased interest in cruise venues has resulted in a 55 percent increase in website visitors at

"A key focus for Seasite this year is to increase group planners' awareness of ships as desirable meeting venues, so that cruises can take their place in the world of strategic meetings management," said Chief Operating Officer Mark Phillips. "In fact, our direct sourcing model can be integrated into nearly every preferred method of venue sourcing today."