HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED IN YOUR CURRENT JOB AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE ROLE?
I joined AmaWaterways and the world of river cruising in April 2015 after spending several years with an adventure cruise operator. Working within the industry I was very aware of the growth that the rivers market was having and was keen to be a part of it. AmaWaterways appealed to me because it is still very much family owned and operated and genuinely puts the customer experience first.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT THE CRUISE INDUSTRY?
The cruise industry is such a fun industry to be a part of. Trends are always shifting and all of the cruise lines are continuously innovating. Because of that there is always a high level of competitiveness with all the brands trying to stay ahead of the game.
HOW IS YOUR COMPANY DIFFERENT TO OTHER CRUISE LINES?
Given that our founders Rudi Schreinier and Kristin Karst are still heavily involved in the design and build of its ships there are many factors that set us apart from our competitors. The ships feature our signature twin balconies, which consist of a French balcony and a full size step-out balcony, which gives customers more space in their stateroom. It features unique in-room entertainment on-demand systems with complimentary internet. It offers a second specialty dining option called the Chef’s Table, which is complimentary to passengers. Most things on board are specifically built and designed for AmaWaterways.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB OVER NEXT TWELVE MONTHS?
On a personal level, I still feel there are so many travel agents that are yet to discover river cruising and I see this as a massive opportunity. Not only is AmaWaterways a fantastic and trusted product to sell to its customers but the earning potential is very high.
HOW HAS THE CRUISE MARKET CHANGED IN THE LAST 10 YEARS?
The biggest change that I have seen is the competitiveness of the market, particularly within the river cruise sector. All of the cruise lines are trying to compete for the same customer and the average price point of a cruise has dropped significantly.
WHAT IS THE TARGET MARKET OF YOUR COMPANY?
While river cruising in Europe does attract many retired people, AmaWaterways focuses heavily on promoting its more active river cruises with hiking and biking excursions which appeal to a slightly younger audience. It has also significantly expanded its wine-themed tours so this is a great opportunity for any wine buffs out there to learn more about Europe’s famed wine-growing regions. More recently our newer ships were designed with inter-connecting cabins to appeal to the family market.
HOW DOES THE COMPANY WORK WITH THE TRAVEL TRADE?
AmaWaterways’ key route to market is via the trade. There are four of us that work directly with the trade. The AmaZing rewards scheme gives agents rewards for every booking made. They can receive anything from a bottle of champagne for one booking, an iPad for seven bookings and a free cabin on one of our luxury European river cruises for 15 bookings.
WHY SHOULD AGENTS SELL CRUISE RATHER THAN A LAND HOLIDAY?
It is an extremely cost-effective way for customers to discover Europe. For example, on our Melodies of the Danube sailing customers can experience five countries and three capital cities in seven days whilst staying in a floating five star hotel with pretty much everything included. In terms of messaging, a river cruise is different than an ocean cruise or land holiday. It’s a comfortable means of travelling between cities within the heart of a region. Guests can be as active or relaxed as they wish.
TOP THREE SALES TIPS FOR TRAVEL AGENTS SELLING RIVER CRUISE
1 What’s most important is that the travel agent sells the right river cruise to the right customer – get this right, and they will be back for more!
2 Highlight the inclusions and just how much value is included within a river cruise
3 River cruise ships look similar on the outside but it’s what’s inside that counts’. Get to know the difference between each river cruise brand and what sets them apart.