Be creative and don’t take rejection personally. That was the advice of GoCruise agent Martin Hay, speaking to TTG ahead of his presentation at Abta’s New Markets in Cruise conference on 2 October.
Hay will host a session at the event in London – for which TTG Media is media partner – entitled “Attracting new audiences to cruise – a perspective on the groups market”.
He will explore what the groups market is and why it is potentially rewarding; how agents can break into the groups market; and working with the right cruise providers.
“I didn’t start out with some grand plan 10 years ago to target the groups market, rather it stumbled across me, I said yes… and the rest is history,” Hay said.
GoCruise, part of Fred Olsen Travel, has built up one of the UK’s largest specialist cruise agencies, with a network of more than 60 franchisees across the UK.
Hay specialises in group travel within the cruise sector and is a director of Agto (the Association of Group Travel Organisers).
“Groups certainly can be rewarding – on occasion very rewarding – but they invariably entail a great deal of hard work, and what’s more despite all that hard work, they don’t always come off.
“My key advice to agents would be, don’t think groups are an easy and fast route to riches, but commit, be creative, handle rejection well, persevere and rewards will follow in the medium to long term.”
Hay also offered some advice for lines dealing with the segment, suggesting they “commit” to groups.
“My key advice to ocean and river cruise operators is don’t play at it. Carefully assess the potential costs and benefits and if you decide to commit to it, do so whole-heartedly.
“Devise an attractive groups policy and seek out travel agent partners who have a proven track record in the groups market, who have the knowledge, expertise, time and commitment necessary to make a commercial success of it in the medium to long term.”
To book your place, click here.