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Amadeus River Cruises, the North American arm of 30-year-old European river cruise line Lueftner, is expanding.
“Our first full year with the North American market was 2017, and we have grown 400 percent since then,” said Marcus Leskovar, executive vice president of Amadeus.
The company just introduced the 162-passenger Amadeus Queen in April, and next year it will bring out its 16th Amadeus vessel, Amadeus Star, with 70 staterooms at 188 square feet each and 12 suites measuring 284 square feet each.
Next year will also see the launch of a millennial product that has been two years in the making.
“We’re taking a very different approach than U by Uniworld,” Leskovar said. “We brought focus groups onboard our ships this year, and we found that the distinctive feature for us was not the hardware; they were completely at home in our ships. It was the services and activities onboard and onshore, and most of all the distribution model: It’s about how you market and how you sell.”
He said cruise line executives were surprised by the millennials’ input.
“The features we thought were absolutes were pretty much disregarded,” he said. “We don’t have to reinvent the ship.”
Leskovar said the focus group wanted meditation classes, yoga, healthy eating, life coaching and close contact with locals. He said the millennial cruises are primarily aimed at the North American market now, but they plan to mix nationalities eventually.
We’re taking a very different approach than U by Uniworld.
Amadeus’ strategy is to market through social media and major influencers for the demographic, partnering with Zaven Global, which specializes in influencer-based travel, and with athletes and celebrities who have more than 1 million followers.
They will have a celebrity influencer onboard to host each cruise exclusively for millennials; the influencer will document the cruise for his or her social media followers and create a program focused on the group’s interest in fitness, healthy eating and conscious living. Amadeus’ millennial cruises will sail three itineraries in 2019 on the Rhine, Danube and Rhone rivers.
The company is developing tools for agents and considering an agent advisory board. Leskovar said Amadeus wants to reach out to agents to join in building the company’s millennial market together.
He was encouraged by the company’s reception recently at GTM West in Las Vegas (operated by Northstar Travel Group, parent company of TravelAge West). He invites travel agents to call him directly in Chicago at 303-339-0660.
“The market is going to change, and now is the time to build relationships,” he said.
The DetailsAmadeus River Cruiseswww.amadeus-rivercruises.com