Sponsored Editorial - NCL Connect: An Easy New Way to Build Your Business

John Chernesky shares the how and why of NCL's powerful new marketing tool - and offers some special tips!

Norwegian Cruise Line's ground-breaking NCL Connect allows its travel advisor partners to effortlessly co-brand digital content experiences that connect clients to a co-branded website with all leads going directly to the advisor’s in-box. All content is easily shared via all social media channels and email. Here, John Chernesky, Senior Vice President of North America Sales, explains why NCL invested in this marketing program and how NCL travel partners can best leverage it to grow their mutual business.


John, you seem pretty excited about the rollout of NCL Connect. Can you share some background on why NCL chose to invest in this marketing program and why you think it is so revolutionary?

Chernesky: It’s been over a year now since I joined NCL and we’ve been talking about our goal of ‘being the easiest cruise line to work with’. This is just one of the many steps we are taking to support the travel advisor community and meet that goal. When we saw this marketing tool, we knew immediately it would be the right choice for our travel partners and brand. So many businesses are talking about harnessing the power of AI and how that can make life easier for everyone. NCL Connect delivers on that promise.


How different is it from the robust marketing program NCL previously had in place?

Chernesky: I like to think that NCL Connect is a powerful ally of Marketing Headquarters which we continue to develop new marketing assets for each and every day. We have over 800+ assets on the Marketing Headquarters platform such as videos, flyers, brochures and more. NCL Connect offers our travel partners an extra level of digital marketing support that provides instant, personalized co-branded content in just one click.


Can you provide some examples of what NCL Connect can do and what makes it so different from what your competitors are doing?

Chernesky: NCL Connect offers travel partners a co-branded website, along with content experiences with a professional look and feel that drives the client back to them, not NCL. With the range of technology available to consumers, we know they do their homework when searching for their next vacation. Travel partners can now share their co-branded website with clients to ensure the client is getting the information they are looking for, while keeping the client with them. NCL is the first contemporary line to launch this, building on the success of our sister brand, Regent Seven Seas, which sets us apart from the competitors


Advisors are saying how unbelievably easy it is to get up and running on NCL Connect. How long does it actually take to get set up and what kind of feedback have you gotten so far?

Chernesky: If my favorite son (a labradoodle named Murphy) can figure it out, anyone can! We have received overwhelming positive feedback from our travel partners. They love how ‘easy’ it is! It takes less than two minutes to personalize by simply inputting your email, name, logo and adding a personal message. Those who have used it describe it as “almost too good to be true!”, and “the easiest marketing I’ve done this year”. To add a further proof point, Murphy has three favorite things in life: Bacon, cheese and NCL Connect.


Is NCL Connect open to all travel advisors and is there a cost or other special requirements to get started?

Chernesky: NCL Connect is available to all travel partners. There are no special requirements to use this marketing tool and it is complimentary.


So, once their content experience is personalized and ready, do you have any advice for partners on how to best use NCL Connect?

Chernesky: Just like all marketing, sharing often is key to success as you want to be in front of your client reminding them you can assist with their next vacation. NCL Connect has an AI component, making it even easier when it comes to sharing on social media and email. Using the power of AI, suggested text is automatically prompted with several options to choose from. You simply choose the text you want to use, edit as much as you’d like and share – it’s that easy!


How many content experiences are currently available, and will there be more?

Chernesky: Many travel partners are using the co-branded website to promote a specific sailing for a group they have booked – this is driving clientsto reach out and book! We have also seen a large amount of travel partners sharing content experiences on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms


What offers are driving consumers to book and how can travel partners find success with these offers?

Chernesky: Norwegian’s Free at Sea offer is driving sales as consumers recognize and appreciate the value included. And travel partners are earning a higher commission because Norwegian’s Free at Sea offers are included into the clients’ cruise fare, so they’re earning commission on all of that. Plus, for new reservations, travel partners can use CruiseFirst as a closing tool by recommending clients purchase a CruiseFirst Credit for $150. Their client’s money instantly doubles – the client is purchasing for $150; Norwegian is matching $150 – making the total amount applied to the reservation $300! It’s a win-win for all! Be sure to keep an eye out for limited time offers that feature a $250 CruiseFirst Credit valued at $500.


I know many travel partners are wondering how they can get started with NCL Connect if they haven’t already or how they can find all content experiences as more become available. Where should they start?

Chernesky: It’s easy – visit inspires.to/NCL to get started and to see all content experiences. Select a content experience and you will be prompted to enter your email and personalize – that’s it!


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