Landry & Kling is launching a new service called SeaSite, an online portal that will allow meeting planners to source and plan cruise ship–based meetings.
The Web site, SeaSite.com, will enable planners to input information about their meetings, find the right cruise ships for their events, and send requests for proposal. It’s the first portal exclusively for meetings at sea, says Joyce Landry, president and chief executive officer at Landry & Kling.
Once planners enter their meeting criteria, the system returns information on ships that can accommodate the group, including where the ships are, how many rooms they have available, size of meeting and function space, itinerary, and facilities and equipment.
SeaSite will be beta-tested in April and is likely to be up and running later this spring, says Landry. All major cruise lines will be accessible through this portal, she says, allowing planners to avoid having to contact each separately. Plus, she says, the information is more detailed than a retail travel Web site (like a Travelocity, for example). “We’re really putting the world on there. We are sourcing cruise ships way beyond your traditional top line.”
The Web site is designed to expand the market for cruise meetings, says Landry. A large majority of Landry & Kling’s clients are corporations, but it would like to attract more association customers. “We invented SeaSite to expand the types of clients that we have, and associations are high on our list,” Landry says. The company has organized events at sea for association clients such as The Links Foundation, which last summer held its 2008 annual meeting in Seattle, then hosted a post-meeting cruise to Alaska for 115 members.
Despite the rough economy, Landry & Kling’s business in 2009 is better than in 2008, says Landry. “There are so many different sizes of ship out there, and they are all competing with each other—the prices are amazing,” she says. “There are some great bargains right now that would be hard to duplicate [at a hotel].” Some cruise lines are booking space two and three years out at today’s rates, she adds.