Q&A: Connie Georgiou, head of trade sales & partnerships – UK & Ireland, Silversea.

Connie Georgiou

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED IN YOUR CURRENT JOB AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE ROLE?

A year now, but I still think of myself as the new girl! I love the finer things in life and Silversea represents what luxury cruising is all about. I have been impressed by the company ethos, a family business with a real sense of pride in the product.

Saga Cruises

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT THE CRUISE INDUSTRY?

I’ve found that the cruise sector is a very close-knit community. I have met some lovely people – colleagues and customers – who are all passionate about cruising.

WHAT MAKES SILVERSEA STAND APART FROM OTHER CRUISE LINES?

Silversea has a list of over 900 destinations across seven continents within our Classic and Expedition fleet –  I feel we offer something for everyone.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?

I really value the trade and understand their needs. Working as a travel agent for years, I believe their talent and expertise play a huge role in the success of Silversea, and I am looking forward to getting our trade partners to experience a FAM or ship visit, by the end of the year.

HOW HAS THE CRUISE MARKET CHANGED IN THE LAST 10 YEARS?

Although I am a relative newcomer, I’ve been in the travel industry for years and watched the cruise sector go from strength to strength. It is a hugely exciting time and Silversea is well placed to tap into this growth and changing trends.

WHAT IS THE TARGET MARKET OF YOUR COMPANY?

In general, our guests are international, cosmopolitan couples and singles, 55+ who are well travelled and highly educated, often retired.

WHAT PERCENTAGE OF GROWTH ARE YOU TARGETING FROM UK & IRELAND CUSTOMERS EACH YEAR?

We are always looking to grow our distribution and welcome talking to new partners – either traditional cruise agents, or luxury providers. It’s these relationships and conversations that help us to grow.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING CRUISE SALES?

We are in an increasingly busy marketplace, so it’s important to focus on your points of differentiation. For us it’s our family-owned product but also our sales team, who offer tailored account management solutions and support to the trade.

HOW DOES SILVERSEA WORK WITH THE TRAVEL TRADE?

Silversea has a strong network of regional representatives and trade contacts. Our relationship results in a better understanding of local needs and demands, which in turn allows us to better serve our guests. We have many initiatives to ensure Silversea is easy to sell from a dedicated online training academy, an online reservation system plus a dedicated UK office, field sales team, a recognition scheme called Advocates, ship visits, FAM’s and incentives.

WHY SHOULD AGENTS SELL CRUISE RATHER THAN A LAND HOLIDAY?

Cruising represents amazing value for money, particularly for those who like to discover new destinations. Experiencing diverse ports of call, knowing that you have your Silversea suite waiting makes exploring new places even more special.

TOP THREE TIPS FOR AGENTS SELLING CRUISE

1 Ask your RSM about our ‘comparison guide’ to help you sell the value of Silversea and educate your customers on the unique differences, as Silversea is not as expensive as you might think.

2 Cruising represents exceptional value so highlight what is included, especially on all-inclusive and break down the price to a daily rate to compare with luxury hotel holidays.

3 Complete cruise online training courses or attend as many ship visits that you can to increase your knowledge and help you recommend the right cruise for your customer.

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