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Costa's 'mystery shopper' program tests, rewards US agents

Costa's 'mystery shopper' program tests, rewards US agents
Starting this week, North American travel agents who recommend Costa Cruises to 'mystery shoppers' seeking a Caribbean cruise with more than four port calls could receive $200 in American Express gift cards.

The mystery shoppers are actually Costa North America sales representatives checking whether agents know about the line's 10-, 11- and 12-night cruises from Miami this winter.

Over the next four weeks Costa's US representatives will telephone or visit travel agencies at random, posing as potential clients and casually asking about longer Caribbean cruises. If agents recommend Costa to the mystery shopper, they'll receive $200 in American Express cards. If the agent doesn’t recommend Costa, the salesperson will use the opportunity to educate them about the line's Caribbean program.

Costa will give away $1,000 a week through Oct. 18.

The mystery shopper program is intended to both measure and raise agents' awareness of Costa Luminosa and Costa Mediterranea programs from PortMiami, according to Scott Knutson, vp sales and marketing for Costa Cruises North America. 'We want agents to have Costa top of mind' if a client asks for a longer Caribbean winter itinerary, he said.

Costa Luminosa's 10-night cruises visit Nassau, Grand Turk, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Roatán and Cozumel.

Costa Mediterranea's 11-night sailings call at Samaná, Tortola, Antigua, Guadeloupe and St. Maarten, with added variations of calls at Nassau or Freeport, or Grand Turk or Key West. A 12-night cruise also calls at St. Kitts.