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Agents will find that specialty cruise lines have a much stronger and more sophisticated presence because of a new company set up by industry veteran David Giersdorf, who is now president and CEO of Global Voyages Group (GVG).
Located in Bellevue, Wash., GVG is using its expertise and its sales force to amplify the efforts of companies including Hurtigruten, Scenic Cruises, Scenic Tours, Compagnie du Ponant and Sea Voyager Expeditions in North America. According to Giersdorf, the company offers services from agent education and sophisticated collateral sales materials to increasing visibility. It may also advise clients on commission levels, pricing, incentives and more.
“We see an incredible opportunity for specialty travel because of its match with the boomer population,” Giersdorf said. “The focus on authenticity and the emphasis on experiences rather than things matches the boomer mentality and, since this enormous group is well traveled, it is ready for specialty travel.”
Giersdorf said that agents should specialize in smaller lines and distinguish themselves in the marketplace.
“These are companies that value quality and uniqueness,” he said. “They offer better commission opportunities, and we help agents connect with these products, which are suited to this demographic.”
GVG began with four sales directors and six in the field. It is already recruiting four more. All sales directors are familiar with the specialty market, so agents can receive help qualifying clients for the correct cruise line. Giersdorf said that these cruise lines become far more accessible to North American travel agents, who, through GVG, receive more training and co-op opportunities, education and sales materials and a big e-marketing platform.
“We can reach millions of consumers with this platform and drive qualified leads to the agent in this large and complex marketplace,” he added. “These smaller companies will reap the benefits of scale and their success will expand the product range.”