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Exclusive: New A-Rosa sales director lays out plans to increase agent network

Michelle Daniels A-Rosa River Cruises

A-Rosa River Cruises’ new UK sales director has set her sights on boosting the line’s network of agents, who remain “critical” to the company’s success

In her first interview since being appointed to head up A-Rosa’s UK and Ireland sales operation last month, Michelle Daniels is beaming with excitement as we sit down to discuss her goals in her new role.

“First and foremost, I want to build on our 100 per cent commitment to the trade,” she tells Cruise Trade News. “We are solely reliant on our travel trade partners, so they really are the future of our business and critical to our success.”

Daniels’ first mission in her new role is clear – to widen A-Rosa’s network of agents by identifying new avenues to reach more of the trade across the UK and Ireland.

The first step, Daniels says, is to recruit a business development manager for the south of England to support regional manager for the north Emma Rodgers.

We are solely reliant on our travel trade partners, so they really are the future of our business and critical to our success

“We’re looking to bring someone on board in July,” Daniels says. “So if there is anybody that would like to apply, we’d love to hear from them.

“Emma has been amazing, and considering she should only be based in the north, she’s been covering the whole of UK, which is incredible. Her passion and her enthusiasm comes across and we’re seeing that in bookings, which shows how important face-to-face engagement is.”

A-Rosa to “get as many agents on board as possible”

While Daniels and her team draw up further plans to reach more agents over the next few weeks, her second goal is to “get as many agents on board as possible”.

“We all know there is no better way to understand a product than by experiencing it,” she adds. “[River cruising] is an all encompassing experience and I don’t think you can necessarily get that into words – you have to see it.”

So far in 2024 A-Rosa has seen year-on-year revenues double, driven by an uptick in demand for Rhine sailings which led the line to add two new ships – A-Rosa Alea and A-Rosa Clea – to the river.

“The market is incredibly positive. We launched 2025 with our group operators some time ago, and response to that has been fantastic,” Daniels continues.

“There’s definitely interest for 2025 and our strategy moving forward is to focus on bringing in early business for next year and moving away from the lates market as much as we can in 2024.”

To strengthen early bookings, A-Rosa rolled out its biggest ever trade incentive programme, giving agents the chance to win one of 25 free cruises for two when they make 2025 bookings between 10 May and 30 June 2024.

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