CruiseRoyal Caribbean Cruises, Genting Cruise Lines and Costa Cruises give their perspectives.

CruiseWorld Asia 2018: How to sell cruising to customers

By
|
Michael Goh, senior vice president — international sales, Genting Cruise Lines, having a casual Q&A session with Arnie Weissmann, editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly US.
Michael Goh, senior vice president — international sales, Genting Cruise Lines, having a casual Q&A session with Arnie Weissmann, editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly US.
Angie Stephen, AVP, managing director, Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean Cruises (Asia).
Angie Stephen, AVP, managing director, Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean Cruises (Asia).

To help agents tap the potential of cruising, three of the industry’s biggest names — Royal Caribbean Cruises, Genting Cruise Lines and Costa Cruises — took to the stage at CruiseWorld Asia 2018 to share how agents can use cruising to enhance their product offerings. 

Cruise Lines International Association’s recent 2018 Asia Cruise Trends report shows that the region continues to be enthusiastic about cruising. Four million passengers took ocean cruises in 2017, up by 20.6%, and there were also more variety of ship products in Asian waters in 2018 with 38 cruise brands. 

To help agents tap the potential of cruising, three of the industry’s biggest names — Royal Caribbean Cruises, Genting Cruise Lines and Costa Cruises — took to the stage at CruiseWorld Asia 2018 to share how agents can use cruising to enhance their product offerings. 

Your vacation expert will attend to you now

Angie Stephen, AVP, managing director, Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean Cruises (Asia), kicked things off with an overview of Royal Caribbean’s fleet across the world. She then gave some invaluable tips from her perspective as an AVP and managing director in the Asia Pacific. “Take the time to know your customers. Put them to the right products. Position yourself as the expert and help them create the dream vacation,” Stephen said. 

One way to do so is to turn ‘bucket lists’ into ‘dream lists’. “Ask them about their dream vacation, like Europe or Alaska, before introducing them to short regional cruises,” she suggested. “When they come back from their trip, you can give them a call and plan the next one.” 

To convert land-based vacationers — which is still the dominant way to travel in Asia — to cruisers, Stephen recommended agents to insert cruising as part of a land-based itinerary. “Nobody wants to be stuck on a tour bus. Suggest cruising and [help] them reclaim 20–30% of their vacation time. Be their hero.” 

A portfolio of possibilities

Genting Cruise Lines’ Michael Goh, senior vice president — international sales, took the stage next. From Goh’s point of view, it is all about offering the right products to the right segments — and Genting Cruise Lines has a myriad products to show for. 

For example, Goh was eager to showcase everything from Crystal Cruises’ ocean and river cruises to yachts and even air cruises. And since they have both short regional destinations and round-the-world expeditions, there is truly a little something for everybody — perfect when tailoring itineraries to individual customers. 

“Very often when we talk about the penetration in Asia, the perception is that taking a cruise is not a top priority among travellers,” Goh said. “We hope we can foster closer partnerships [with agents] to change that perception.” 

Goh also spoke about how, while travellers usually book their first trips based on destinations, they often return for the onboard ship experience — and that is certainly the case for Crystal Cruises. Goh cites the staff-to-guest ratio, which stands at an impressive  1 to1.67 for Crystal Cruises — a testament to the brand’s dedication to quality hospitality. 

For business and for leisure

Finally, Ali Wong, business development director at Costa Cruises, South-east Asia and Australia, introduced Costa Cruises’ packages that agents can use to sell their products. 

Take incentive groups, for example. Wong said that Costa Cruises provides complimentary venue usage for groups that book more than 30 cabins on their ships, complimentary audio-visual equipment use, in-house technicians and photographers, five all-inclusive meals — ideal for corporate events and off-site team-building. 

Wong also had suggestions for leisure travellers. For example, cruising is a growing holiday sector and is available all year round, making it easy for agents to fit them into any itinerary. Furthermore, agents can value add to their customers’ experience by offering Costa Cruises’ services, such as airport transfers, pre- and post-hotel services, etc. 

The next 10 years is not only going to be an exciting time for cruise companies, the same can be said for travel agencies also. Perhaps Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Stephen said it best when she proclaimed, “We are all about writing history for the Asia-Pacific region in the next decade. We are going to make history, and you want to be part of that.”


JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI