Agents were encouraged to “build on bucket-list expectations” and craft cruise-and-stay packages with tour operators to make the most of a customer’s cruise plans.
Sporting events, music concerts and wildlife experiences were among the options for adding into clients’ trips.
Mark Henderson, senior product and commercial manager – specialist product, Gold Medal and Travel 2, told delegates to create “a package that is not easily benchmarked”, which could help reduce the need to sell based on price. He also described how Cruise Plus by Travel 2, which launched five years ago, now had 42 partners.
Henderson said the key for cruise-and-stay was “complimenting what the cruise lines do”, noting some of its most popular trips were to Canada and South Africa, with add-ons.
Graeme Evans, global product manager for Travelpack, said cruise is “a market you can’t ignore”, revealing the operator was expanding its cruise team to take more enquiries.
He described a recent booking from an agent for an Alaska cruise with a Rocky Mountaineer journey where more elements were added.
“The guests then wanted to fly into Winnipeg to see polar bears, then across to Niagara Falls… so from an initial enquiry it became a £50,000 booking, but cruise was the key element,” he said.
Evans and Henderson also extolled the popularity of sporting events, with both of them seeing growth from Japan in the lead up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, as well as Formula One in Monaco and Singapore.