booked a specific brand and or type of cruise vacation, and communicate to them with those offers that are most likely to resonate.” (Scenic Group)
9. Use the Power of Personal Recommendations
Based on past successful vacations, “cruise advisors can recommend a certain line or type of travel,” says Medhi Atash, president and CFO, Cruise.com. “For example, for those clients who have enjoyed river and ocean cruises with a certain line, they can recommend similar cruise lines that are known to offer a similar product and service level.”
He also suggests truly understanding what makes each cruise line or ship unique in style, service, onboard atmosphere, dining, entertainment and overall guest experience. Then, based on what a client enjoys, recommend a similar experience.
“For example, if clients liked the service and ambience of one brand, recommend a similar one that also provides similar ambiance and service,” says Atash.
Top Wave Season sales tips continue with rate integrity, national marketing, cruise conferences and groups…
Continue to Follow the Line Curious consumers who missed out on the offers companies promoted during National Cruise Vacation Month may still be interested in making a reservation if the cruise line sustains its marketing message, believes Atash. Great Wave Season sale fares usually are short-lived, but if the company maintains marketing that promotes the brand and its sale offers, these potential cruisers “are more likely to forge ahead with making a timely booking,” he says. That’s particularly true when the potential cruiser believes that in a recovering economy, “prices will continue to go up.”
Bill Coyle, MSC Cruises’ senior vice president – commercial, North America, suggests that “finding creative ways to communicate these deals is also important, so won’t it hurt to reach out the local newspaper? Maybe work with a radio or TV station. Distributing flyers at events or setting up a booth at local shopping malls might also work.”
Bill Coyle suggests reaching out to the local newspaper, working with radio or TV stations, distributing flyers at events, or setting up a booth at shopping malls.
Atash agrees with Coyle. He says, “Many clients are more at ease about purchasing a cruise when they feel secure about the purchase, that is, they can always get a better deal or a refund.” So, cruise advisors should showcase that when there are better offers, the client becomes automatically re-fared to the lower price, with clients inclined to come aboard sooner versus later.
Benefit from Group Conferences
Accrediting their national conference with Viking Ocean Cruises in Norway, “nearly 90 percent of those who attended ended up booking a client,” says Consoli. “I couldn’t resist presenting the opportunity to see the product firsthand and communicate with Viking’s top executives.”
In addition, the cruises on the “familiarization trip” with youthful U by Uniworld garnered great feedback from Consoli’s clients. His top clients who attended that first trip now are part of an influential focus group within the agency as to fit, finish, function and programming desired by the coveted Millennial and GenZ cruising demographic.
Crucially, Consoli also notes the benefits of attending wave season sales conferences. “You meet and spend time with executives and decision makers.” The access allows you to checkmate comparable deals and find out what other colleagues are doing to strike the right chord with their clients.
Group & Clean Out Email List
“As we enter the year, our database is undergoing our annual ‘clean up,’” says Lynne Trussell, luxury travel advisor at CruisePlanners in Tampa, FL. “First, it means we will get back to all those who didn’t choose for the remainder of the year,” she says. In addition, moribund email addresses, “people who haven’t opened or clicked in more than a year,” get scrubbed out.
From there, she sets the stage for the incipient season by offering Wave Season updates; created HTMLs from suppliers go out via email; and social media posts, subject lines and creating offers for wave season offers. And she works with her favorite suppliers to help them help create wave season sales.
Economics and the Quote Quandary
“In recent years, we have seen more people actually reserving itineraries using Future Cruise Credits given for a cancelled cruise,” says Trussell. For some, those credits weren’t being used because it was difficult to receive a dollar-for-dollar value when used.When clients are primed to chat about a hot Wave Season offer, it’s critical that the agency is “all in.” That means it must be ready to do business, even during off-hours or the weekend.
Ken Heit, owner and president, Luxury Cruise and Tour, Inc.
During Wave Season is the time to work with clients on itineraries, dates and all aspects of pricing, Trussell says. It’s a time to consider various payment plans and to assist in giving clients filling out necessary paperwork with their FCCs. “Those future credits have now created an economic demand for advisers and suppliers to offer competitive, value-packed offers and pricing when providing clients an offer.”
So, there’s no mistaking the sailings ahead in 2021. It’s the famous and sought after Wave Season. While deals may be different in approach than years past, the industry has all hands on deck showcasing and producing unique and value-added content that shows promise. So, ready….set….go!