David A. Giersdorf has announced the initial client portfolio for Global Voyages Group (GVG), a company providing a comprehensive, cost-effective and performance improving solution for cruise companies, tour operators and other travel suppliers that seek improved performance in the all-important North America market. The GVG solution is built on a foundation of deep expertise, integrated marketing technology, sales and distribution expansion and reservations services. GVG was founded in 2010 and has been working to expand business in North America for clients Hurtigruten, Scenic Cruises, Scenic Tours, Compagnie du Ponant and Sea Voyager Expeditions.
"Global Voyages Group provides cruise companies, tour operators and other travel suppliers with expanded access to the lucrative and growing North America market in an efficient and effective way by leveraging technology and experience like never before," said David A. Giersdorf, president and CEO, Global Voyages Group. "And travel agents who are knowledgeable and focused on this category will have greater access and support in selling these very attractive experiences." The company’s mission is to provide a game-changing approach designed to meet the needs of GVG’s client companies in accessing the North America market more effectively and efficiently than is possible on a single company, stand-alone basis. The size and complexity of the North America Travel Agent distribution system, combined with the cost of reaching and engaging with qualified consumers, and the lack of benefits of scale, places many fine companies at extreme disadvantage when pursing cost-effective revenue growth and financial performance improvement in the world’s most promising leisure travel market. Each Global Voyages Group client receives a customized solution; creating a partnership that is strategic, flexible and integrated.
"GVG can provide clients with complete turnkey access to North America," said Giersdorf. "And, we can customize our services to optimize or extend the presence and activities that companies may already have in place." Initial clients include Hurtigruten, Scenic Tours, Scenic Cruises, Compagnie du Ponant and Sea Voyager Expeditions. Hurtigruten, a world leader in expedition cruising with a fleet of 12 ships, operates daily along Norway's west coast with visits to 36 ports, as well taking guests to the remote destinations of Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic's Spitsbergen. Spring sailings take in many of Europe's top ports. GVG is responsible for implementing Hurtigruten's North American marketing and communications plan, and administering sales development programs in the western United States and Canada.
"Global Voyages Group provides Hurtigruten with the efficiency and effectiveness necessary to support our focus on expanding reach and penetration in the North America market and continuing to strengthen our commitment to supporting Travel Agent partners," said Hurtigruten’s Rolf Logan, Sales Director Americas.
Scenic Cruises operates the newest and most luxurious fleet of river cruise ships in Europe. Its five 'Space-Ships' sail river voyages throughout Europe ranging from seven to 21 nights and each ship offers more than 80 percent private full sized balconies. A new 'Space-Ship', Scenic Crystal, joins the fleet in 2012 with innovative, industry leading 'Sun Lounges,' a feature that converts each Private Outdoor Balcony into a fully protected sun lounge at the touch of a button. In addition, Scenic Cruises offers cruising in Russia and Egypt. Scenic Tours offers award-winning all-inclusive escorted tours in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and throughout the world. For Scenic Cruises and Scenic Tours, GVG is responsible for all U.S. marketing, sales and reservations.
"We see great promise for Scenic Cruises and Scenic Tours in the United States market and based upon very positive results these past few years we are substantially increasing our focus and commitment to developing the opportunity," said Glen Moroney, Founder and Managing Director. "GVG's expertise and experience enables us to accelerate the marketing and distribution of our products and provide in-market support to Travel Agents through training and sales tools, cooperative marketing and U.S. based reservations services."
Established in 1988 by Jean Emmanuel Sauvée and Philippe Videau, Compagnie du Ponant's fleet of five luxurious yachts range in size from 32 to 132 staterooms and sail many of the world's most sought after itineraries, offering more than 450 destinations in 81 countries. A division of CMA CGM, the world's third largest container shipping group, Compagnie du Ponant is a member of both La Charte Bleue d'Armateurs de France and IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) and design their cruise itineraries in a manner that protects marine wildlife, coastal environments and local flora and fauna. GVG is responsible for expanding Compagnie du Ponant's US and Canada marketing & sales presence and providing call center support "GVG's state-of-the-art technology, databases and e-marketing savvy allows us to expand and amplify our presence in North America," said Terri Haas, Compagnie du Ponant Chief Commercial Officer. "GVG really understands the North America market and brings us unparalleled insights and capabilities."
Sea Voyager Expeditions operates the well-known 60-guest expedition cruise vessel, Sea Voyager. The company features unmatched expedition and discovery experiences in Central and South America, one of the great remote eco-travel frontiers on earth. Sea Voyager Expeditions destinations include Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Colombia, featuring pristine national parks, tropical rainforest, diverse marine life and authentic indigenous cultural experiences. GVG provides North America marketing, sales and reservations services for Sea Voyager Expeditions.
"As we are developing the exceptional 2012-2013 expedition cruise programs of Sea Voyager Expeditions, GVG's advisory services provide us with a depth of industry and market knowledge that would be impossible to replicate," said Denise Landau, CEO, Sea Voyager Expeditions. "Their ability to provide instant benefits of scale and excellence in marketing, sales and reservations services is invaluable to a specialty cruise operator like ourselves focused on developing the North America consumer and Travel Agent market for our unique offerings."
With significant experience at the most senior levels, Global Voyage Group’s executives include David Giersdorf, president & CEO with more than 30 years cruise and travel industry experience, managing partner Tom Russell with more than 25 years cruise industry experience and managing partner Gary Blake, a marketing expert with more than 25 years experience in advertising, consumer behavior and customer relationship management. In addition, GVG employs 15 full-time employees in its Bellevue headquarters, plus dedicated sales personnel in key markets.
The GVG team is committed to increasing North America revenues, expanding distribution, reducing marketing costs and improving financial performance for cruise and tour operators. Its services include sales and channel management, integrated marketing solutions, call center, reservations and business processing. In addition GVG provides advisory services on product development, pricing, revenue management and more.
Norwegian Cruise Line has selected the winning names for its two new Freestyle Cruising ships: Norwegian Breakaway, launching in April 2013, and Norwegian Getaway, launching in April 2014. The names were selected as the culmination of its "Norwegian's Cruising for Names" contest held in conjunction with national newspaper USA Today.
Norwegian felt these names best reflected the innovation of the brand along with the freedom and flexibility of the line's signature Freestyle Cruising and invoked the feeling that these ships will provide a "break" at sea from the stress of everyday life. Breakaway is defined as "a departure or break from routine or tradition" and Getaway is defined as "a place where one escapes for relaxation, vacation, etc."
"We felt Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway epitomized both our Freestyle Cruising philosophy and our belief that these ships will offer a true respite, whisking our guests away from their everyday routines and delivering the ultimate cruise vacation," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer.
The contest winners are Kimberly Powell of Lafayette, Louisiana, who first submitted Norwegian Breakaway, and Dennis Hultman of Vienna, Virginia, who first submitted Norwegian Getaway. Powell took her first cruise in August on Norwegian Spirit and loved the experience. She is a self-proclaimed "news junkie" and thought it would be fun to enter the contest when she saw it on USA Today's site. Hultman is an avid cruiser and also reads USA Today daily.
Both Powell and Hultman will receive a trip for two to Norwegian Breakaway's inaugural festivities, including the Christening Ceremony (date/location yet to be determined). The trip includes round-trip coach airfare for two, ground transportation, balcony stateroom accommodations (double occupancy), on-board meals, as well as government taxes and fees.
The contest entry period ran from July 18 to August 14, 2011, during which 230,000 entries were received.
The Breakaway class ships will each be 144,017 gross tons and will have approximately 4,000 passenger berths. These ships represent an opportunity for the Norwegian guest to "break away" from the routine of work, school, and daily stress, and find a true respite at sea. These new ships will take the best of the best from all of Norwegian's existing ships drawing on the line's experience of having launched 10 ships in the past 10 years - starting with Norwegian Star and Sun in 2001 and culminating with the launch of Norwegian Epic in 2010. To date, the company has revealed all of the ships' staterooms, which include the innovative Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers, along with The Haven by Norwegian, comprised of 42 suites at the top of the ship.
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