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This issue’s cover story, “A Shore Thing” (page 14), looks at the importance of land-based experiences for today’s cruise passengers. The growth of shore excursions — and the need for cruise lines to continually wow customers with new options — has been a quiet revolution in the industry.
I’m sure many of you have already observed this trend with your clients. People generally don’t come back from a cruise and immediately brag about how the ship had a waterslide or a great new Broadway production — although they often do talk about onboard features eventually. What everyone wants to share are the exclusive, over-the-top travel moments that made them feel like VIPs and jet-setters. The quality of these land-based experiences can turn a good cruise into one that clients talk about for years to come.
Arranging these moments means more work for travel advisors, but increasingly, that’s the nature of all trip planning — every vacation you create should include remarkable moments. Fortunately, when it comes to cruising, a successful effort often leads to more business. According to Cruise Line International Association’s most recent Cruise Travel Report, cruisers are twice as likely to use a travel advisor than non-cruisers; they are more likely to feel satisfied by agents; and they are more likely to use an agent for their next trip. Perhaps best of all, cruisers are 40 percent more likely to travel with friends and family than other types of travelers.
Clearly, cruising is a sweet spot for advisors and well worth the extra effort. Plus, as the cover story points out, once you show them what you can do in one port, they inevitably want you to work your magic in the next destination — and then the next.
With all the investments that cruise lines are putting into amazing ships and cutting-edge hardware, it’s satisfying to know that the human touch advisors bring to the table can’t be overlooked. Now, it’s up to agents to rise to the challenge.