In the June issue of Irish Travel Trade News, Neil Steedman reports on trends in cruise ship design and interviews Will Walsh and Niki Cosgrave, ClickandGo, and John Spollen, Cassidy Travel, on how travel consultants should approach the selling of cruises.
Ask the Client
Will Walsh said: “Every agent tries to sell cruises – some are doing it well, but some are not. Owners/managers need to ensure that their staff are well trained, know the products they are selling and have confidence in selling them.”
Niki added: “Also don’t try to sell everything from the start – choose one or two products, know them well, sell them and gain confidence. If cruising is sold well the clients will come back to you.
“Staff need to ask clients lots of questions to determine what they like. Do they stay in hotels or apartments – and 3-star or 5-star? Do they like to dress for dinner? Do they prefer short-haul or long-haul holidays? What have they always wanted to see – the Northern Lights or Alaska etc?”
Will: “Do they like to dine with the same people each day or not, or would they like a table for two, or family dining? NCL started the flexible dining concept with multiple restaurants and varied meal times – but some ‘old school’ cruisers don’t like this, they miss the rapport that comes with having the same table and waiter!”
Niki: “We always recommend pre-purchasing a drinks package, even if it’s for non-alcoholic drinks only, because it is much cheaper, some lines pay commission, and high service charges are applied to individually purchased drinks.“
Will: “We wouldn’t normally recommend pre-purchasing excursions, unless they are in destinations, such as Russia, where potential visa problems are avoided by pre-booking. No-one has ever said they couldn’t get on an excursion and if you book two or three when onboard you may get 10-20% discounts.
“Also, excursions can be long, tiring and expensive. Why not think of your ship in port as your hotel and wander out if and when you please?
Niki: “I agree and adding pre-booked excursions can make the overall price expensive, so wait until you are onboard and see how you feel. Just book the transfer option in some destinations.”
For the full interview, see the June issue of ITTN, in which Sarah Slattery looks at how the world of travel is changing – and therefore how the role of travel agents is changing and how their suppliers are developing their product and service offerings – and Neil Steedman reports from this year’s Germany Travel Mart.