In his regular column for Cruise Trade News, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines head of sales Geoff Ridgeon discusses how travel agents can prepare for the wave period.
I am somewhat bewildered that I am sat here now welcoming you all to December. It seems only yesterday that we were getting our ships up and running again, but the festive season has come around again.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, so they say, and we have a lot to be jolly about. As an industry, we have completed a successful summer and autumn of cruising, and now it is time for us to sail full steam ahead into the busy wave season.
So, how do you find your way through this busy period, with so many cruise lines offering various offers through the winter? It seems a cliché to say but listen to your customer as to what they are expecting from their cruise.
Do they want some winter sunshine and to relax on board, or do they want to get out and explore on a more adventurous itinerary? Do they want a resort-style ship with lots of facilities, a luxury break where they can escape for a week or two, or are the destinations and experiences ashore more important to them?
A sales marathon, not a sprint
What is great about turn of year this time around is that we are already seeing strong demand for sailings in 2022.
In fact, it is likely that some fans of cruise are waiting for everyone to release details of their campaigns before they make their next booking. But don’t forget, there will still be some great cruises this side of Christmas, too.
We are also seeing confidence in cruise increase, which means there is real opportunity to tempt those who are missing all that they love about cruise holidays but haven’t yet got anything in the diary.
For the sake of another cliché (hey, it’s Christmas after all), turn of year is a marathon, not a sprint. Most cruise lines will have campaigns that run for two months or more.
At Fred Olsen, we are offering added value with a free drinks package and tips included on selected sailings in 2021 and 2022, on new bookings made from 1 December until 1 February.
That means you have plenty of time to build – and maintain – momentum, especially for the flip side of Christmas when the January blues really start to set in.
Don’t forget, a successful turn of year leads to a fruitful start to 2022, which benefits us all, as agents and as cruise lines. So, fuel yourself with mince pies and let’s make this turn of year a successful one.
As this is my last column before the big day, may I take the chance to wish you all a happy Christmas and to thank you, on behalf of our industry, for your support. I will be raising a glass to you all.
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