Avalon Waterways is targeting the groups market. // © 2011 AvalonWaterways
Globus Family of Brands began the New Year with a renewed commitment to group business and an expanded role for Mike Schields as managing director of groups and emerging markets, overseeing all aspects related to the growth of groups, from sales and service to product delivery.
Schields, who worked with Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Far and Wide before moving to Globus, said that Globus will offer greater flexibility in responding to groups. He helped launch the company’s Avalon Waterways river cruise product and envisions a new level of partnership with agents, particularly those with a proven track record in group business.
“We are seeing more requests for groups from agents, and we see potential for greater growth than we have experienced,” Schields said. “We will listen and try to respond to particular needs, which are of the essence to group business.”
Schields added that the most common misconception among agents has to do with inventory; a company with ships in the 120-150-passenger capacity range, even one that has experienced the type of expansion that Avalon has, simply doesn’t have the inventory or flexibility of a 1,000- or 2,000-passenger vessel.
However, Schields expects to be able to create more dialogues between Globus and agents, to arrange flexibility and to adapt to each group’s needs. When it seems nearly impossible to meet a demand, he may be able to offer an alternative.
“In some cases, just adjusting the dates allows us to give a group exactly what they want,” he added. “And a call center doesn’t have the training or discretion to be able to do this kind of negotiating. If there’s something we can’t do, we will explain why we can’t and try to reach a solution.”
Scott Nisbet, president and CEO of Globus Family of Brands agrees.
“We’re committed to the groups market,” he said. “Our combination of products and dedication to service and support allows us to help agents find the right fit as well as offer them support throughout the planning process, from start to finish. Garnering and retaining our groups and emerging market business take creativity, tenacity and patience. Mike Schields has the ideal blend of those qualities and the experience to lead our teams into the future.”