Although Six Star is part of the same company that also owns mainstream retailer cruise118.com, its operations are “ring-fenced” from its sister brand so that it can offer a high-quality service to customers who often spend more than £50,000 on a single cruise holiday.
The team is made up of 20 concierge consultants who offer assistance that goes far beyond booking the cruise itself, including handling requests as diverse as arranging for a client’s dogs to go into kennels and even organising hairdressing appointments for them.
One consultant even took a call from a client at 3am because they were unsure about how to get from their cabin to the dining room; the obliging agent quickly found a deck plan to give directions to the client.
Making sure employees are up to speed on the latest luxury cruise ships and products is crucial for Six Star, and new recruits are not allowed to start taking calls until they have acquired this knowledge.
When they join, employees undergo an eight-week induction process before becoming part of the concierge team, while the company tries to ensure that each agent goes on two or three familiarisation trips or ship visits every year to improve their product knowledge.
The agency also works with staff “on the psychology of selling to wealthy customers”, so that agents can get used to booking holidays for high-spending clients.
Staff clearly enjoy working at Six Star as it has an “almost perfect” retention rate. Employees are rewarded for their long service by being granted extra days of holiday and there are also annual awards for staff to reward best performance in key areas.
As well as gaining business through Google search marketing, Six Star also hosts around 50 events a year for existing customers and their friends.