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Princess Cruises’ Tony Roberts: Selling to new-to-cruise clients

Princess Cruises UK coastal voyages on Sky Princess

Princess Cruises UK & Europe vice-president Tony Roberts explains how to target new-to-cruise customers over the coming weeks and months.

It has been fantastic to see the positivity surrounding the UK cruise industry recently as a number of cruise lines, including Princess Cruises, have announced new UK-only sailings for this summer.

Taking a cruise around our home country may not be what we’re used to, but we are living through unusual times. While international travel remains uncertain, these UK cruises mean that customers can be assured of a much-needed holiday this summer.

Interview with Princess Cruises UK and Europe vice-president Tony Roberts
Princess Cruises UK & Europe vice-president Tony Roberts.

As such, these domestic cruises – or what Princess is calling Seacations – provide a fantastic opportunity for travel agents to tap into the new-to-cruise market.

For the customer who has been considering taking a cruise for the first time but hasn’t yet made the leap from land-based holidays, the short scenic voyages present a perfect chance for them to sample a cruise and the incredible experiences offered on board.

Then there will be those who are looking to book a UK land-based holiday for this year and may have never even considered a cruise. For these customers, you can show the fantastic value a cruise holiday offers versus a UK resort.

Where else can you find world-class dining, luxury accommodation, fantastic service and entertainment in one place, all while waking up somewhere new each day?

Plus, the value is even more appealing when an all-inclusive package is added on. For example, guests sailing on Princess Cruises’ all-inclusive Seacations can enjoy the usual amenities provided on a cruise holiday plus premium drinks, unlimited MedallionNet wifi and covered gratuities.

Getting the right fit

When selling to new-to-cruise clients, understanding the new and enhanced health protocols will be key, in particular the vaccination policies as this will differ between cruise lines.

Before Covid-19, lines implemented innovative technologies to enhance the guest experience, such as Princess Cruises’ Ocean Medallion. It’s important to show clients how these technologies now lend themselves well to travelling in a socially distanced world.

At Princess, streamlined check-in, simplified safety training, reductions in queueing and the ability to order food and drink to anywhere on the ship are just some of the ways we are leveraging the Medallion technology to transform the guest experience.

While it is important to show how our industry is taking measures to protect the health and safety of guests, crew and communities we visit, remember to also talk about the wonderful experiences that only a cruise can provide, such as being able to relax by the pool before enjoying dinner and heading to an evening show, and of course don’t forget about the exceptional service from crew.

Good for business

While our industry has been hard hit from the pandemic, the good news is that there is still a strong appetite to cruise, both from regular cruisers to those yet to try. Findings from a CLIA survey conducted in December 2020 showed that 58 per cent of respondents who have never cruised are likely to do so for the first time in the next few years.

Tapping into this market with these new UK cruises makes business sense as, no doubt, once new-to-cruise clients have booked a domestic sailing, they will return to their trusted travel agent to book more cruises in the future.

Selling tips

  • Get the right person on the right cruise by asking the right questions and making the most of the resources and tools provided by CLIA
  • The health and safety of guests, crew and the communities we visit will always be the top priority. To help build confidence, show how there has already been a successful initial resumption of cruising in Europe and some other parts of the world with new health measures in place
  • Highlight how lines are incorporating new technologies to enhance the cruise experience in new and exciting ways, while also helping people to travel in a socially distanced world

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