Oceania Cruises will launch its first online agent training portal in the coming months as the line promised to make 2018 “the best year yet” for its trade partners.
Bernard Carter, senior vice-president and managing director Europe, Middle East and Africa, said Oceania would use 2018 – its 15th anniversary year – to bring in “an age of nuance”, offering more bespoke sales support to agents and promoting its onboard cuisine and exclusive itineraries with more emphasis.
Carter told TTG he hoped the new portal would be made available in the second quarter of the year: “We want something that will be so much more dynamic than anything we’ve had before,” he said. “We wouldn’t want a consumer site full of evocative imagery and a trade page that wasn’t so inspiring. If we’re showcasing our product in a way that really brings things to life for agents, then in turn, they will sell just as evocatively to a customer. That approach goes for our trade strategy as a whole during 2018.”
Priti Mehta, director of sales UK and Ireland, said Oceania was looking to expand trade distribution over the coming 12 months having experienced “really exciting growth” through agent channels over the last few years.
To get more partners working with Oceania – and increase the performance of those selling the line – Carter said it would be consulting with agents on how best to support them with deals, marketing and new product.
“It’ll mean creating more effective strategies for both us and them and hopefully more revenue too,” she said.
Mehta added: “We can sometimes get lost in the mix with other lines. We need to shout about what we do best.”
To further boost trade engagement during 2018, the line will be hosting a series of smaller fam trips on the back of its 21-night sailing last May, for which it invited more than 150 travel consultants and media.
As part of the line’s anniversary celebrations, agents will be given the chance to win places on the upcoming sailings. It will also launch its winter 2019-20 programme in April.