Regional charter programme fuels passenger growth by 15%, finds Katherine Lawrey
Hurtigruten has added Cardiff and Leeds Bradford to its charter programme for 2017-18, increasing the number of UK airports on offer to 12. Direct flights are also available from Glasgow, Dublin, Newcastle, Manchester, East Midlands, Birmingham, Bristol, Bournemouth, Gatwick, and Norwich to Bergen or Tromso to join the 12-day Classic Round Voyage or the five or six-day Arctic Highlights itinerary.
Anthony Daniels, head of sales, UK & Ireland, said: “Each year we review our winter schedule and rather than always stick to the same airports we like to open up new regions. Offering a direct, regional service not only demonstrates the support of our regional agent partners but brings our unique style to a wider client base who would prefer to use their own airports and not have to travel far to the ‘main’ hubs.”
He said that increased awareness of the direct regional charters had contributed to 15% passenger growth for the first quarter.
He added: “We found that the demand year-on-year is growing significantly and decided to launch earlier again this year, which results in more opportunities for our trade partners to build longer campaigns, guests to make plans earlier and for us to sell next winter in this winter. Word of mouth about the success of the direct regional charters has also had a significant impact on forward sales.”
Hurtigruten’s Northern Lights Promise continues for a third year, covering off more regional airports including additional departures from Manchester. The Northern Lights Promise offers guests who embark on the 12-day Classic Round Voyage or Astronomy Voyage a free six or seven-day voyage if Aurora Borealis fails to make an appearance during their journey.
Daniels said it was important to offer the guarantee because seeing the lights was the main motivation for booking.
“We hear so many stories about land-based trips and the lights didn’t appear, which obviously is a great disappointment. With us not only do you have the ship and crew keeping watch but because we’re always moving and searching ourselves, the increased chance is significant and the chance of the guarantee being actioned is relatively low.”