Panache Cruises MD and founder James Cole reveals that client booking patterns are currently falling into three categories, as the luxury cruise specialist travel agency prepares to push on with its expansion plans.
After taking some time out to explore other business ventures, I decided to return to cruise in early 2020 and took the opportunity during the first lockdown to develop the concept behind Panache Cruises.
We launched the business in July 2020, and while many thought we were completely mad to start a cruise business in a global pandemic, we had a different take on the situation.
The pandemic has of course brought its challenges, but it has also given us the opportunity to establish what is now a settled and experienced team, build strong connections with our cruise line partners and develop loyal relationships with customers.
Therefore, I believe we’re in great shape for when the market returns.
Current feedback from customers is telling us that they can’t wait to get back on the water, and a recent survey we undertook tells us that their future booking patterns are falling into three categories: those who want to cruise ASAP; those who will wait to commit until there is more news on the specifics of cruise returning; and those customers who want to see what cruising looks like when it does return.
Whenever they decide to book, we are well and truly ready.
Reasons to be “hugely” positive
Launching Panache Cruises was never about the short term, but rather the long-term growth opportunity.
We know that cruise, especially the luxury sector, is due to grow significantly over the next five to 10 years and our strategy is to grow with it.
We have some very exciting initiatives planned for when the market returns, including adding more cruise connoisseurs to the team, recruiting for other positions to take the business forward and working even more closely with our ambassadors to further engage with new and existing customers and build the brand.
We know that the market is on the very cusp of returning and we are hugely positive about the future of cruising, which is evidenced by world cruises selling out in record time, Azamara being sold to new owners who have already added a fourth ship, and other lines launching new ships.
We also know that the pent-up demand is definitely there – we are poised and ready to get our customers sailing again.
It’s great to be back in cruise with Panache Cruises and we are feeling really excited about the future, not only for our business but for the wider industry, as well.