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The new year is here, and so is cruising’s 2019 Wave Season. January, February and March are often when clients are looking to spend some Christmas money on the gift they actually wanted: a cruise vacation. These months are also when cruise lines offer deep discounts.
As a travel advisor, there are a few things to be aware of this year, including consumer deals, the potential for increased sales, professional incentives and helpful tips.
Specific to the season, Holland America Line (HAL) and MSC Cruises are extending deals that can greatly benefit your clients. If reserved by Feb. 28, summer 2019 through winter/spring 2020 HAL sailings come with free cabin upgrades, select shore excursion discounts (up to 10 percent in savings), an up to $1,000 flight credit per stateroom and reduced deposits from just $99 per person. Plus, those booking a suite will get up to $600 in onboard credit.
Meanwhile, MSC is offering its own perks through March 31. Unlimited beverages, complimentary Wi-Fi access and lowered $99 deposits can be granted to clients who reserve certain Caribbean or Canada and New England voyages onboard MSC Seaside, MSC Divina, MSC Armonia and MSC Meraviglia.
Riviera River Cruises, too, is enticing travel professionals with the chance to receive up to $800 in gift cards. For up to four cabins, agents will receive a $100 Visa gift card per stateroom on all four-, five- and seven-night itineraries, or a $200 Visa gift card per stateroom on all 14-night sailings. Reservations must be placed prior to Feb. 28 to qualify.
With insights gleaned from its 2019 Wave Season Survey, host agency Avoya Travel anticipates that this year will see better sales during these early months. This is thanks in part to last year’s strong season , as well as more ships and itineraries to choose from, including AmaWaterways’ AmaMagna, Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Panorama and more. Additionally, the economy is doing well, unemployment is down, and baby boomers are retiring. This all contributes to consumer confidence, and it helps advisors better prepare.
Independent Agencies (IAs) in the Avoya Network recommend specialization for thorough knowledge of target segments, as well as being fully apprised of vendors’ product lineups and promotions.
“Study the offers,” said Debra Willms of New York-based Travel Works For Me, an IA in the Avoya Network. “Avoya has great promotions and the best marketing to bring in new customers, and combinability with the cruise lines’ deals means better client value and more bookings.”
In order to maximize sales, surveyed agents also encourage organization and getting as much completed as possible during Wave Season. This may mean putting in more hours and reducing distractions during this time of year. Looking to past clients is another good tip for seasonal success. Of course, all throughout, it’s important to be as efficient as possible. Preparing some correspondence beforehand can be a big help.
“Having almost all email communications pre-scripted saves time — time you can use to take another new client lead,” said Michael Gussman of Florida-based Professional Vacation Planners, an IA in the Avoya Network.
The DetailsAvoya Travelwww.avoyatravel.com
Holland America Linewww.hollandamerica.com
Riviera River Cruiseswww.rivierarivercruises.com