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Travel industry news

07 Mar 2019

BY Abigail Healy

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Harmer urges agents to make cruise sales ‘more about the experience’

Cruise lines are increasingly focused on delivering new experiences for their customers.

Andy Harmer
Sharelines

“Cruise lines are asking, ‘what kind of experiences will our guests love?’. They are less concerned with how many bars the ship has, for example.”

That was one of the cruise trends highlighted by Clia’s senior vice-president membership and director UK and Ireland Andy Harmer at the Advantage Cruise Conference.


“The search is on for new experiences,” he said. “Cruise lines are asking, ‘what kind of experiences will our guests love?’. They are less concerned with how many bars the ship has, for example.”


He highlighted this means agents need to change their language when selling to customers.


“It doesn’t matter what we call a ship or a stateroom or getting involved in deck plans and main dining rooms.

 

"It’s about the onboard experience. Make it more about a holiday than a maritime journey and think about how it will make your clients feel.”


This was backed up by a further trend – the demand for cruise by millennials.

 

He said: “They aren’t so interested in having things but they want experiences, and cruise lets them visit lots of different places.”


Harmer also highlighted agents should expect to see “big growth in niche sectors”.


“We are seeing significant growth in expedition cruising, with 10 new ships launching in 2019 and a further five in 2020.

 

"Places off the beaten track are seeing real growth, it’s why destination knowledge is so important,” he explained.


Other trends Harmer picked out included the evolution of ship design with the likes of Kelly Hoppen designing for Celebrity Edge and Apex, and Virgin Voyages “challenging the way cruising operates”; the increase in multi-generational cruising; and the importance of land add-ons with more lines adding private island experiences.

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