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Agents’ cruise sales soar: Australia’s second national Cruise Week hailed as an outstanding success


Issues & Trends – September 2013

Agents’ cruise sales soar: Australia’s second national Cruise Week
hailed as an outstanding success

CRUISECO chief executive Steve Lloyd has given added credibility to the rave reviews Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has given itself for the National Cruise Week activities it co-ordinated earlier this month.

Lloyd, who heads Australia’s most powerful cruise agency consortium, is a self-confessed sceptic about the impact of such promotions.

Cruiseco was not involved in National Cruise Week as a principal but all deals released in conjunction with the week were available through its reservations centre.

And Lloyd told travelBulletin: “We saw a fierce spike in bookings especially in the first three days when booking levels were probably double what we would normally expect.”

Australia’s National Cruise Week copies a similar highly successful event run for a number of years in the US by CLIA Australasia’s parent body. This was the second year it has run here.

“When we compare this year to the inaugural National Cruise Week in 2012, it’s very obvious to me that our retail members had a better grasp of what the week was all about,” said CLIA Australasia general manager Brett Jardine.

“The level of activity, the number of events and the commitment to get involved was overwhelming by comparison.”

CLIA will conduct a formal survey of retail members but Jardine said: “The response to date from all membership categories has been very satisfying. It’s a great result for the industry and we look forward to facilitating National Cruise Week again in September 2014.”

MSC Cruises managing director Lynne Clarke said the week had created a real buzz, with early bird deals to the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords, Baltic Capitals and Caribbean proving popular.

Royal Caribbean reported book-ings for the sale week were up 15 per cent compared to the previous year, and up 45 per cent compared to the previous week.  

APT general manager marketing Debra Fox said: “We were delighted with the strong distribution support we received during National Cruise Week.”

And Seabourn and Holland America director of sales Tony Archbold said the week had provided opportunities to be involved in training.

Taking advantage of the training opportunities offered by National Cruise Week was home-based agency group, Travel Counsellors. It launched a series of new initiatives designed to provide its agents with bespoke training, support and expert advice on selling cruise holidays.

“We wanted to ensure we made the most of National Cruise Week this year,” said Travel Counsellors country manager Tracy Parkinson.

“We already offer training on cruises, but we felt that by launching new initiatives we would help to build some excitement and encourage our travel counsellors to get involved.”

Initiatives included a daily cruise training webcast featuring cruise operators, a tailored cruise e-card to send out to clients, cruise selling tips, hot offers and the launch of a weekly cruise newsletter for clients.

Travel Counsellors commercial team leader, Jonathan Garrett said: “We have seen cruise bookings increase by 77 per cent from 2011 to 2012 and a jump of 55 per cent from 2012 to 2013 year to date.”

CLIA Australasia co-deputy chair and Carnival Australia chief executive Ann Sherry praised agents who had rallied behind National Cruise Week. “The cruise industry makes its biggest splash when we all speak with one voice,” she said.

 

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