Riviera Travel has announced that Thomas Morgan has taken over as the company’s national sales manager, leading the agency sales team. Here he tells Cruise Trade News about plans for next year.

First, can you outline your career at Riviera to date?

I started at Riviera in September 2014, as trade marketing executive and then key account manager. I did that for a couple of years and from January this year I’ve been international sales and marketing manager, looking after our overseas business in the US and Australia, but now I’m back in the UK.

What are your immediate priorities in the role?

The UK trade sales team has enjoyed fantastic growth over the last six years, so it’s a continuation of that. It’s in the early stages, but we do have plans to get more agents to experience our product in 2019.

What are the opportunities and challenges?

We plan to continue our growth in selling river cruising, supported by the two new ships coming next year – MS George Eliot and MS William Wordsworth.

In terms of threats or risks, at the moment the travel industry is suffering a little bit with everything that is going on politically. So, it’s about telling agents and guests that if they do book with us, and the worst of the worst happens, they are fully protected – there is no risk when booking with us.

Why is river cruising growing so rapidly?

It’s mostly down to people becoming more aware of the product.

If you look at ocean cruising, years ago people could only name two or three big cruise lines. However, now there’s much more publicity around river cruising and it’s getting the attention it warrants.

It’s a great product. If you’ve done lots of ocean cruises, river opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

What’s your message for agents?

We want them to know that we are fully protected.

We are the largest river cruise line in the UK, the market leader, so we want to ensure we are prepared and ready to support agents in any way possible.

The team here has expanded rapidly since I was last involved in agency sales; back then it was a team of four and now it’s seven, and we are also looking to expand further during 2019.