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Travel industry news

08 Jun 2018

BY Tom Parry


Ponant reveals 'substantial' UK growth plans

French cruise line Ponant has launched a range of sailings only for English speakers as part of plans to “substantially grow” its share of the UK luxury cruise sector.

Ponant new hybrid ship.jpg

The line has launched a range of sailings only for English speakers and will look to expand its UK sales team and market share

The line – which will add seven ships to its fleet by 2021 – has also vowed to triple its UK marketing spend and scale up its sales team as it looks to take “up to a 10% share” of the market within the next three years.


As of June 1, Ponant began pricing in sterling instead of euros in the UK, a move chief marketing and sales officer Hervé Bellaiche told TTG would “cement our commitment to guests and agents".


Departing from May 2019, Ponant’s Quintessential Collection for English speaking guests only consists of eight sailings based around themes such as history, nature, food and wine and art.


Bellaiche said Ponant would look to increase the number of itineraries in the collection for 2020.


“The experience that Ponant offers when it comes to luxury and also expedition cruising is totally aligned with what we know British guests will love. Today we have around 1% market share but that will change with our investment,” he said.


He explained how at present, the UK represented “less than 5%” of the line’s global sales.


“We are going to change the way we work in the UK market and with agents,” Bellaiche added, going on to reveal that the line was currently in the planning and recruitment process to increase its UK-based sales and marketing team which currently stands at three members of staff.


“It is all very well creating a great website which shows your brand but we need to expand the amount of face-to-face meetings we are having with agents,” he said.


“Ponant has an incredible product and proud history which needs to be explained. The luxury cruise market is crowded in the UK and so we need to be able to find a way to speak to agents in a more personal way.”


He said the line would offer more ships visits including tours of its upcoming vessel, Le Lapérouse, the first ship in the Ponant Explorers series, which will visit London in September.


Ponant will also look to position its ships around the British Isles more often in the coming years, Bellaiche said.


Meanwhile, to celebrate its sponsorship of the British Library’s new exhibition, James Cook: The Voyages, Ponant, is curating its own Cook Collection, exclusively pitched at the UK market. Available to book now, the cruises cost from £2,950 and all bookings reserved with a deposit by August 28 will also receive £350 on board credit.

Destinations set to be visited include Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Polynesia, New Caledonia, Easter Island, Antarctica, Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. James Cook: The Voyages runs until August 28.

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