Angela Waite, sales and commercial manager for APT, explains how the company stands out and why the river cruise sector is operating in a “time of opportunity”.
How long have you worked in your current role?
I joined APT in 2006, just as river cruising was in its infancy as a travel format. I was initially a retail sales executive but from the very start I could see that APT was a travel company driven by innovation.
I have been at the company for 12 years now, during which time I have witnessed the cruise industry boom and the river cruise market go from strength to strength.
What is the biggest challenge facing cruise sales?
River cruise sales have grown by 21 per cent, according to the most recent CLIA River Cruise Report. We are operating in a time of opportunity rather than challenge, and every agent should grab it with both hands.
How does APT work with the trade?
At APT, we support the trade in a number of ways. We have a dedicated on-road team, supported by our inside sales and trade marketing teams at head office. We also offer lots of training and incentive opportunities and invest in conferences and collateral to support digital and promotional activities.
What do you like best about the cruise industry?
That’s an easy one – the people and the product. Everyone I work with, both at APT and also in the industry as a whole, shares the same passion for delivering fantastic travel experiences.
How is APT different to other cruise lines?
At APT we delight in every detail – that’s what we believe makes the APT difference. From our carefully compiled sightseeing programmes and inspirational destinations to our hand-picked experiences, comprehensive range of inclusions and our continued focus on delivering the very best personal service, we believe our difference lies in the detail.
What are you looking forward to most over the coming year?
I’m excited to continue our sales journey at APT. We’ve made some significant investments in our trade strategy and team over the past few years. With Paul Melinis joining APT as MD for the UK and Europe, that investment will only continue. We’re really well placed to start 2019 as we mean to go on, driving growth for APT and its industry partners.
Can you give us a description of a typical APT customer?
The average APT guest is aged 55 and over – ours is a diverse target audience that is served through a wide-ranging portfolio of Luxury and Essential river cruises and escorted tours across the globe. APT’s guests all look for high quality, great value for money, comfort and the finest accommodation, cuisine and service throughout their holiday. They are true travellers.
Tell us one thing about your life outside of work?
I never seem to stop travelling. When I’m not working in travel, I’m out and about on my own holidays. I’ve been to six of APT’s destinations – the Mekong, Myanmar, New Zealand, Canada, Europe and Australia – with my favourite of these being the Mekong.
Angela’s top tips for agents:
- Learn as much as you can about cruising. By doing so you’ll find it much easier to match a client to their preferred holiday
- A land tour client might try a river cruise. It’s about asking the right questions about where they want to go, what they want to do and what they want to experience
- Breaking down the price per day for clients can often be a great way of demonstrating the incredible value for money that is offered while enjoying a river cruise holiday