New agency focused on MSC Cruises passes £1m in sales

A travel agency which only sells sailings on MSC Cruises’ ships has topped £1 million in sales just nine months after its launch.

Online agency Simply Cruises is owned and operated by entrepreneurs Chris Hughes and Sara Marshall (pictured).

It launched in November 2022 and took its first bookings from February 2023.

The company said its development followed the “success and growth” of Hughes’ portfolio of MSC Facebook forums and blogs, which now have more than 250,000 followers.

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“Sales leads have all been generated organically, thanks to the widespread popularity of the forums and word of mouth, with no advertising spend required for the business’s launch,” it said.

Bookings over the last six months are mostly with two MSC ships – MSC Virtuosa and MSC Euribia – with plans to expand to include the remainder of the cruise line’s fleet during the third quarter of this year.

An integrated online booking platform on the website is also on track to launch by the end of the year.

Hughes said: “When we came to market with Simply Cruises in late 2022, I said we were coming in as a disruptor.

“Few people saw the value in such a niche proposition, specialising in just one brand but breaching £1 million in sales within the first six months of our first booking is a testament to the fact that people value a highly specialised service.

“Our business is modelled on authenticity. We sell the products that we know inside out to ensure that we can guarantee the best advice for our clients.

“It’s clear this model works, and we can now scale up as part of our growth strategy.

“We’re gradually bolstering our knowledge of other ships within the MSC fleet and will then extend our offering accordingly.”

The agent, part of Barrhead Travel’s Brilliant Travel brand, expects to expand its team of experts over the next year.

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