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In vast sales team expansion, Norwegian to nearly double BDMs in the field

Drew Madsen - wants 'the most engaged, empowered and responsive sales team in the cruise industry'
Norwegian Cruise Line plans to substantially expand its North American sales team, almost doubling the number of business development managers in the field and increasing the overall sales group by more than 40%.

Building on Norwegian’s 'Partners First' philosophy, this investment signifies a commitment to having 'the most engaged, empowered and responsive sales team in the cruise industry,' according to Drew Madsen in his first major announcement as president.

'With the recent addition of exciting and innovative capacity and significantly more to come, this expansion will allow us to build closer, more effective partnerships with our travel partners across North America,' Madsen said.

The sales team boost comes along with a hefty investment in marketing tools, booking automation, training and co-op marketing dollars.

New field sales representatives will be added in regions throughout the US and Canada, including multiple positions in California, as well as an expanded presence in New York, Texas and the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions. The field sales team will also add a new business development manager position and a director of sales for Canada, joining the four managers already dedicated to Canadian travel agents.

Sales managers will be added to the national accounts, key accounts; charters, meetings and Incentives, and inside sales teams based in Miami, too.

'Our aggressive and sizable investment into our sales force will not only allow us to personally reach more travel professionals, but will also allow us to deepen the relationships we have with our travel partners,' said Andy Stuart, evp sales.

Leading the expanded sales force are Nathan Hickman, who recently joined Norwegian from Oceania Cruises as vp field sales and national accounts; Alex Pinelo, a long-time Norwegian veteran who was recently appointed vp key accounts; and Katina Athanasiou, vp charters, meetings and incentives for Norwegian, Oceania  and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

This expansion comes as the Norwegian sales team is in the midst of series of events with travel partners and individual agents in 21 cities across the US and Canada, including Atlanta, Boston, New York, Montréal, Dallas and Los Angeles. Each event provides a detailed preview of this year's Norwegian Escape.