UK travel agents are to take part in what Norwegian Cruise Line claims will be the world’s first virtual cruise ship launch.
The operator has teamed up with Zolv to use a specially adapted version of the technology specialist’s Full Picture call centre sales system.
The technology will use video and new 360-degree footage to showcase new ship Norwegian Escape to customers via webinars co-hosted by agents and Norwegian.
More than 5,000 potential customers are expected to ‘experience’ the ship over three weeks from November 2 after 25 agencies signed up to host a series of virtual launches.
The vessel, the first of a new class for Norwegian, was launched in Southampton this week with 600 agents and 2,500 of their customers due to go on board.
Nick Wilkinson, Norwegian business development manager, said: “This is a world first. Having a virtual ship launch, as well as the real deal, will allow us to help our trade partners reach even more customers.
“We’ve always looked to develop our ship launches to help the trade capitalise and make bookings – this is an evolution of that.”
Wilkinson added: “Zolv’s tech gives us the ability to interact with a multitude of customers and partners at the same time using video and still footage to show off what a quality ship offers to clients.”
For the first time at a Norwegian ship launch, customers on Escape will also be able to make future bookings, with commission going to the agent hosting them.
Wilkinson said customers who instead book in the following 30 days will have the fee for attending the launch celebrations deducted from the cost of their booking.