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
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
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.