Light Blue Travel commercial director Michelle Daniels explains how German cruise line Nicko Cruises is boosting its presence in the UK market.
In early 2019, cruise specialist Light Blue Travel was approached by Nicko Cruises to launch the product to the UK market.
The line – with a fleet of river ships, sailing all the main European rivers – was already hugely successful in its home country, Germany, but unknown here in the UK.
Spotting the potential to market to a new audience, a deal was done and Light Blue Travel became Nicko Cruises’ UK GSA.
However, before work could commence, the pandemic struck and plans were put on hold.
I joined Light Blue in September 2021 as the situation was improving and immediately set to work on a growth plan and strategy.
We needed to establish our USP, so we decided that we would sell Nicko from the UK as all inclusive, with packages to include transport, gratuities, excursions, all meals and beverages.
Agents could earn up to 15 per cent commission on the fully inclusive packages, all bonded under Light Blue’s ATOL and ABTA licences.
We also joined CLIA and since then we have taken part in promotional activities such as workshops, webinars and presentations.
A new selling guide
Having participated in the CLIA 2022 RiverView event in Budapest for the first time, it was clear that we needed to get a ship to the next big event.
We worked hard with the Nicko team in Stuttgart to make that happen and were delighted to showcase one of our newest ships, Nicko Vision, at this year’s 2023 RiverView conference in Vienna, hosting a dinner for 120 agents and ship visits for 400 delegates.
Meanwhile, we’ve also launched a travel agent selling guide, which is the start of a package of tools we are creating for our agent partners to help make selling Nicko Cruises as simple as possible.
This is available in print and digital and agents can download it from the Nicko UK website.
The website also features a dedicated agent section full of images, videos, deck plans and logos for marketing and promotions.
In addition, we offer social media digital assets to support marketing and can supply overbranded flyer artwork, for easy download, customisation and print.
Next on the list is the launch of our river cruise training academy, which will provide bitesize online training modules.
Agents will be able to set up an account to track and update their progress and they’ll receive certificates upon completion of each module.
We’ve come a long way so far and we’re looking forward to growing the Nicko brand in the UK with the help of our valued trade partners.