Oscar Abello is the vice president of product planning and revenue management for Paul Gauguin Cruises
HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED IN YOUR CURRENT JOB AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE ROLE?
I started with Paul Gauguin Cruises in 2008, which afforded me the opportunity to continue working with a great
ship and destination I am passionate about. Expanding my role to include international sales further enhanced the appeal, allowing me to work with trusted partners to help promote the cruises
we offer year-round in Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT THE CRUISE INDUSTRY?
The industry is growing and being embraced by more and more markets and areas of the world. It provides a great way to visit a variety of destinations with ease and at great value. Along with this change is the plethora of offerings for all sectors of the market. This dynamic industry provides varying products for everyone, and I like the challenge this presents in terms of identifying and matching the guests to the product. and the education and training required to do so.
HOW IS YOUR COMPANY DIFFERENT TO OTHER CRUISE LINES?
Our company is unique in that we are a luxury cruise product that is year-round in one destination. We are at home in French Polynesia and embrace the fact we are there. While we provide world-class service and cuisine, we offer a product that is not just passing through an area. The ship, with its size, scale, expansive deck space and watersports marina, was designed to sail in these magnificent lagoons. From our Tahitian singers and dancers, Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins, who are permanently on board as entertainers, and social staff who bring the warmth and charm of the Polynesian people on board, to the private beach in Bora Bora available to our guests, the call at our private-island Motu Mahana, and the local entertainers that also come on board, we offer authentic experiences throughout the cruise.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
I am looking forward to continued growth in the international sector for Paul Gauguin Cruises, working with our partners to enhance knowledge about this magnificent destination in general and our product specifically.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING CRUISE SALES?
With the wide variety of offerings, the biggest challenge to cruise sales is being able to convey the differentiation of a product. It is important to understand
the client and ensure that they consider options for their expectations. Too often there are preconceived notions about what a cruise is like – but not all cruises are the same and there are options out there that enhance the guest experience on board, as well as with the destination. In the case of French Polynesia, one challenge is considering a cruise in comparison to the overwater bungalow experience. These are not mutually exclusive. We offer a variety of options for pre- and post-hotel programmes, while still experiencing a variety of islands on luxurious, floating and portable overwater accommodation.
HOW DOES PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES WORK WITH THE TRADE?
We are committed to our trade partners and have great relationships with
them. These representatives share
the same ideals and commitment. Our partnerships also allow local markets
to have access to fares in their local currencies and real-time response to enquiries without requiring time zone considerations – along with local support for questions, training and promotions.
TOP THREE TIPS FOR AGENTS SELLING CRUISE…
1 Understand the cruise product and match the experience with the guests’expectations. In some cases, like French Polynesia, consider the way an experience might be delivered at the destination.
2 There are ships out there for everyone. However, you need to be prepared to respond to obstacles or myths about cruising including age of guests, size of ship, activities, cost etc
3 Understand and appreciate the value that cruising provides – the inclusions and overall value are important to convey. If someone is looking to celebrate an occasion, do not hesitate to suggest options that might work for them.