Adventure cruising is enjoying a moment in the spotlight. Whether it’s following in the footsteps of legendary explorers in the Arctic and Antarctica, experiencing wildlife close up in encounters in the Galapagos, or ‘hot’ destinations such as Chile and India, expedition voyages are big business.
Here are the top sales tactics for when you’re out to crack the expedition market.
For many clients cruising conjures up images of sun loungers, cocktails, lazy days at sea and round-the-clock entertainment. But there’s much more to discover on the seven seas, and an expedition sailing will take customers to the ends of the earth – quite literally of course in the case of Arctic and Antarctic voyages.
Armed with the right know-how, agents can increase cruise sales by promoting these amazing experiences. Take a look at these top tips to find out how to maximise your deals.
Know your client
In selling expeditions, the destination is the hero. “Iconic destinations like the Antarctic, Arctic and Galapagos can really only be experienced in depth by ship,” says Silversea’s UK MD, Peter Shanks.
He continues: “There will be regular cruisers who aspire to an expedition, but the best place for an agent to start is with their baby-boomer luxury travellers. They will have the right sense of adventure, a discerning desire for luxury and the budget to take a Silversea expedition. It can be a daunting sell, but our travel advisor experts are always available to support our agent partners with a sale.”
New innovations mean the latest ships are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to deal with extreme conditions. “Aurora Expedition’s new ship, Greg Mortimer, is offering dynamic ways of experiencing the Arctic – it’s the world’s first expedition ship to use the patented Ulstein X-bow technology,” notes the company’s sales director for UK and Europe, Craig Upshall. “Providing much more stability than a traditional bow, it means that the ship can pierce through the waves of the notorious Drake Passage with unprecedented comfort and ease, while also reducing fuel consumption and air emissions.”
Commitment to the environment
Many clients are increasingly aware of environmental issues and want to know they are embarking on an ethical cruise. All mainstream polar lines are members of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), which is dedicated to responsible, eco-friendly tourism.
“We are committed to running an operation that is a model to the world in terms of ecological sensitivity. We are dedicated to minimising our impact on the areas we visit as well as the areas in which we operate,” remarks One Ocean Expeditions MD Andrew Prossin.
Embarking on an adventurous voyage to far-off lands doesn’t mean having to rough it, as senior sales and marketing manager for Crystal Cruises, Elaine Gillard, points out.
“When Crystal Endeavor launches in 2020, it will boast all the luxurious amenities and special touches for which Crystal is known, such as generous public spaces, a full-service spa and salon, six restaurants including Nobu Matsuhisa’s Umi Uma and expedition rooms. The yacht will also feature some of the most spacious suites in expedition cruising, and there will be private butler service for every suite.”
For guests, wildlife viewings and exploring spectacular unspoilt landscapes are the main attractions of heading to dream expedition destinations. Discovering them has become even more thrilling with innovations including helicopters and a seven-seat submarine being unveiled on Scenic Eclipse. Managing director at Scenic UK Colin Downing says: “Over the past 18 months our team of experts have honed the concept to ensure our guests experience the ultimate in luxury and discovery with the utmost safety.
“Scenic is a pioneer in offering exclusive experiences to places that were previously thought inaccessible, thanks to on-board helicopters, a submarine and a fleet of Zodiacs.”