How long have you worked in your current job and what attracted you to the role?
A: I have been with Riviera Travel for nearly two-and-a-half years. I was attracted to the role because I was looking for something different and wanted to work for a company with a great reputation and products I truly believe in.
What do you like best about the cruise industry?
A: The variety. No two days are the same for me and being able to visit some fantastic destinations is a nice perk of the job. I also get the opportunity to meet some amazing people, both agents and customers.
How is your company different to other cruise lines?
A: We are the only five-star British river cruise line in the market and we design our cruises to meet the individual needs of our customers, right down to the little touches such as tea and coffee-making facilities in the cabins.
What are you looking forward to most about your job over next 12 months?
A: Increasing our river cruise sales through our travel agent partners.
If agents only sell one Riviera Travel cruise itinerary this year, which one should that be?
A: A cruise along the Danube as it’s a great river cruise for first-timers, but also works for more experienced river cruise customers. They will get to visit lots of the great European cities such as Budapest, Vienna and Bratislava. In Vienna, we bring a traditional string quartet on board and that is also a real highlight.
Can you give us a description of the typical Riviera Travel customer?
A: Our customers are typically 50 plus, they’re discerning and have a real passion and enthusiasm for the places they visit.
Tell us one thing about your life outside of riviera travel that agents may not know about you.
A: Being a Burton Albion season ticket holder. It has allowed me to be smug with other football fans for the last few years as Burton Albion is a club punching above its weight.
What is the biggest challenge facing cruise sales?
A: Getting the message across to customers what each river cruise brand offers. Clients could probably name four or five river cruise operators but they are unlikely to know what the difference between them is, so it’s important for Rivera Travel to be able to really stand out from our competitors.
How does the company work with the trade?
A: We work very closely with the trade and are a very trade-friendly company. We never discount so you don’t have to give any commission away to price match.
Why should agents sell cruise rather than a land holiday?
A: The main benefits of a river cruise over a land holiday is getting to experience lots of different places and to be moored right in the heart of the destinations included in the voyage, while experiencing five-star luxury on board.
TOP THREE TIPS FOR AGENTS SELLING CRUISE
1 Explain to customers that all-inclusive is not right for everyone. Some clients might prefer to experience the food in the different destinations the river cruise visits.
2 Learn as much as you can about the river cruise products available to give you the confidence to find the right voyage for your customer.
3 Be confident in your own ability. The fantastic service and extras you can offer the customer mean you shouldn’t discount the price when you don’t need to.