The Scenic Group has reported a “dramatic increase” in its group business.
The company – which operates the Scenic and Emerald Cruises brands – said that pent-up demand had resulted in the “unexpected bonus” of larger groups – either made up of family or friends – “opting to splash out on bucket-list cruises”.
Scenic Group added it has implemented an internal nine-step groups process, starting from when agents with a group booking contact their regional sales manager.
Following that, the operator’s team will check availability and create dedicated pricing and group benefits. These include discounts, on-board credit and extras such as private transfers and drinks packages.
It also has dedicated marketing materials to promote group bookings and bespoke groups training.
Recent successes include an Emerald Cruises sailing on the Douro, plus Lisbon extension, for a group of more than 25 people, sold by Appleby Travel in Cumbria, and an Emerald Rhine cruise, departing in October, sold by Crumlin Travel in Northern Ireland.
Scenic ‘renewing’ focus on groups
Scenic Group director of trade sales Andrea Stafford said: “It’s been an unexpected bonus for us.
“In fact, the rise in groups business has made us look again at how we treat that whole area of our operation. We have renewed our focus on groups and streamlined the entire booking process for agents to make things as simple as possible.
“Groups can be a seriously good earner for agents because very often the number of clients snowballs quickly. We’ve found this year that there is huge interest in the weddings market, and also people celebrating milestone birthdays with family.
“Both Scenic and Emerald Cruises offer a range of exclusive excursions and experiences, which go down well with clients looking for something special.
“From an agent point of view, the best thing about selling groups is that we can take over much of the work.”