CruiseTravel professionals can follow these tips to persuade corporate customers to switch from land meetings to sea getaways.

An expert guide to getting corporate groups to cruise at sea

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On a cruise ship, there is something for everyone, and that should be the key message the industry creates to address.
On a cruise ship, there is something for everyone, and that should be the key message the industry creates to address.

With airfares hitting exorbitant highs and border re-openings plagued by visa hiccups and long immigration lines, holding that corporate gathering at sea has never sounded more appealing.

Although cruises have long been associated with leisure travel, the time is ripe for the booming cruise industry to entice a new segment of travellers: corporate customers for meetings, retreats or incentives.

At the recent travel agent panel discussion at CruiseWorld Asia 2022, “Engaging and Retaining New Cruise Travellers”, industry experts shared insights on how to drive growth in the cruise sector among corporate clients.

1. Speak the language of your traveller

Cruises have great advantages over land destinations as an option for business incentives or even MICE. Yet, these are often not well communicated, and cruises are hence tagged as leisure travel. The answer? Travel professionals need to show that cruises offer everything needed for a meeting or an event in one place.

Adeline Kang, director, JCAP, Travel, Meetings, Card & Fleet, MSD says, “We need to give people the right perception. Most times, our struggle when we do incentives is to ensure there are activities to fit all demographics. On a cruise ship, there is something for everyone, and that should be the key message the industry creates to address our needs.”

2. Post it all on social media

The new traveller wants to see similar experiences they can identify with. So, if there’s a group retreat happening or a MICE event being hosted, post it on social media.

“Seeing a corporate customer’s prior cruise experience on social media can help travel professionals to ‘sell’ cruises as incentives, even more so to the holder of the purse strings.

“Additionally, sharing on social media also helps give potential clients the confidence to cruise and that cruises are both safe and fun,” comments Teguh Basuki, CEO, Samasta Tour & Travel.

3. Up your communication game

Social media and WhatsApp chat have become two of the most important business tools right now, says Chris Tay, assistant general manager, New Shan Travel Service. The latter, in particular, provides better accessibility than a customer service call.

Khe Han Lai, director, TLC Travel & Tour, agrees. “Cruises often require extensive planning,” he says. “From understanding group size to enquiries on best times to travel and the packages available, WhatsApp has been great in engaging with customers instantly.” This two-way interaction and the quick turnaround time could also help translate enquiries into bookings as it helps travellers make instant decisions.

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