Saga trade boss Iain Powell on demand for domestic itineraries

Saga trade boss Iain Powell: ‘Things are looking up in the cruise sector’

Saga head of trade sales and commercial partnerships Iain Powell looks at the power of loyalty, as the line reports huge demand for its domestic itineraries.

In the three years I have been at Saga, I have always been taken aback by the loyalty shown by our guests. Many of them feel invested in our decisions and actions and so we are always looking for ways to reward that loyalty, be it big or small.

When we decided on our British Isles cruises some months ago, we were very conscious of those repeat guests who had experienced cancellations, but also for those new to Saga. We had to make sure we rewarded loyalty, while also starting the process to build it with new guests.

With this in mind, we spent the month of March calling every guest and giving them the first chance to book one of our new cruises. By the time we went on general sale at the end of the month, we had retained over 90 per cent of guests who had been impacted by cancellations and many of them chose to move to one of the new itineraries.

It is thanks to guest loyalty and support from travel agents that we have been able to retain so many customers since the pandemic began.

Plenty of choice this summer

Many cruise lines have opted to travel around Britain this summer and what has struck me about the options available to the market is the variety on offer. We often refer to ‘something for everyone’ within the cruise industry and this has once again been demonstrated by what’s on offer.

Our sister ships, Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure, are small by today’s standards. We’re using this to our advantage for these British Isles cruises and taking the opportunity to visit unique ports of call, particularly in the Scottish Highlands, such as Kirkwall and Ullapool.

We often forget about the amazing destinations we have closer to home and this summer we will get the chance to showcase everything the UK has to offer. For those guests who might want to stay on board, both our ships offer guests luxurious contemporary cruising, with plenty of space to relax.

We’re also keeping our usual inclusions, too, from insurance and our UK travel service to all-inclusive dining, drinks and gratuities, to name a few.

There’s no doubt that being able to accommodate guests on alternative cruises has been a valuable lifeline throughout the last year, but we are now beginning to see new demand increase across the business.

It therefore feels apt to end this by confirming we have now sold out on all our new British Isles summer cruises. Things are looking up.

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