Joining special interest groups ‘key’ way to boost river cruise sales

Joining special interest groups is a “key” way for agents to drum up river cruise sales, according to industry experts speaking at Clia’s RiverView Conference.

Speaking to 400 delegates on a panel in Vienna, Angela Sloan, head of sales UK for Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, told agents they should join groups to find people interested in topics such as wine, beer and history so they can target them with a river cruise based around the subject.

“Groups is key,” she said. “It’s all about finding people in your local vicinity and joining a group so we can help you sell them on that thing.

More: Coming months ‘critical opportunity’ for river cruise agents, says Clia chair

“The agent can then host the cruise and we might be able to offer them a rate break.

“I know an agent who connected with a wine group and we’ve been able to sell many of them on a Bordeaux cruise.”

She added: “Focus on one itinerary and really learn it. Get training on it, get marketing support and we will help you sell.”

Christian Kaatz, head of sales for Nicko Cruises, echoed Sloan’s thoughts, adding: “Your clients like and trust you. If you tell them you are going to join a specific cruise then they will likely follow you.”

However, Avalon Waterways’ chief executive Giles Hawke reminded agents that while finding innovative new ways to expand their network is helpful, the priority should be to “get the basics done right”.

“There’s lots of great creative stuff agents are doing but make sure you’ve got river cruise on your website, showcase the latest deals and keep up to date with product news and new ship launches.

“These things are way better than trying to do something wacky and out there – these are what will deliver the sales.”

Picture: Christian Kaatz, Angela Sloan, Tom Dumbrell, national account manager UK & Ireland Tauck, and Giles Hawke

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