On May 26th, Celebrity Cruises held an executive Q&A webinar for Canadian travel agents to provide details on a brand-new website for agents, and to learn more about the company’s current coastline and interior Alaska product offerings.
Sitting in on the discussion were Allan Brooks, Brendan Halcomb and Brenda Lynne Yeomans
The new website, www.celebritycruisetours.com, was designed to provide all the information on Celebrity’s Cruisetours in one place, and it expands upon everything outlined in the brochure.
According to Halcomb, there are three top assets that utilize impactful and profitable conversations with clients:
- For educating consumers: the Celebrity Cruisetours brochure
- For educating yourself: www.celebritycruisetours.com
- For support: trade partner advocates available at (888) 307-8401
Destinations and expectations
Alaska is a wild and magical place, unlike anything else.
To sell Alaska effectively, travel agents must first understand the kinds of experiences their clients are looking for. As Halcomb explained, most guests are looking for something that checks off four boxes: wilderness, wildlife (the Big Five: moose, caribou, grizzly bear, wolf, and the Dall sheep), mountains, and glacial experiences.
Currently, Celebrity Cruises offers tours that explore both the coastline and the interior of Alaska, and operates three ships in the destination: The Celebrity Solstice, which does a Seattle roundtrip; the Celebrity Eclipse, which does a Vancouver round-trip, and the Celebrity Millennium which does open jaw sailings, and starts in Vancouver. Because the Millennium does open jaw sailings, it creates the opportunity for guests to do a multi-night land component into the interior of Alaska.
“Your clients always have the opportunity to do one of two things,” Halcomb said. “Either they can start out in Vancouver and do that seven-night northbound sailing that would take them up to Seattle where they disembark and do the two to six-night land tour and fly home from Anchorage or Fairbanks. Or, they can fly into Anchorage or Fairbanks, do that two to six-night land tour that would take them down to Seward, and then sail seven nights southbound where they’d fly home from Vancouver.”
All of the Cruisetours have an A or B option, which designates these options for your clients.
“Cruisetours is a packaged entity, and we package the land component in our systems with the cruise,” Halcomb said. “There’s no separate rate that exists for the land component of the cruise tour. There is only one rate that exists for the Cruisetour itself.”
Understanding geography plays an important role in selling Alaska, Halcomb notes, and travel agents should familiarize themselves with key sightseeing spots, like Denali National Park, or the Hubbard Glacier, to best plan their client’s dream cruise.
In 2019, Celebrity began the process of revolutionizing its fleet, and the first ship to undergo this process was the Celebrity Millennium. This means that guests can enjoy a world-class ship with modern amenities, even on those open jaw Alaska sailings.
“This was a $75 million process where the ship was taken down to the studs and rebuilt out,” Halcomb said.
Why sell Alaska Cruisetours?
One of the biggest bonuses of selling an Alaska Cruisetour with Celebrity is the commission earning opportunity for travel advisors.
“Cruisetours is fully commissionable as you are commissionable for all of the cruises that you sell with Celebrity Cruises,” Halcomb said.
On an 11-night Alaska Cruisetour, with a balcony stateroom selected in early July (when the nightly rate and commission doubles) for example, creates incremental commission.
“It can’t just be about selling Alaska Cruisetours to the clients that are interested in it,” Halcomb said. “It has to be about educating and exciting them to want to do the Cruisetour, even if they only reach out about the cruise or as Alaska as a destination.”
It’s important to remember that most of the wildlife and scenery that guests are looking for lie within the Alaskan interior, which is why the Cruisetour is an elevated experience of any Alaskan tour booked with Celebrity. Agents who keep this in mind can earn much more than on a standalone cruise.
When it comes to lodging, Celebrity takes pride in selecting properties that complement the cultural and geographical elements of the landscape.
Each Alaska Cruisetour also comes with an Alaskan tour guide who knows the interior of Alaska inside and out and can provide expert local insight that guarantees guests the experiences they are after.
Guests on a Cruisetour will also have the chance to partake in included experiences (similar to shore excursions that are built into the Cruisetour) and optional land excursions. During the land component, there will be a portion of the day where the group travels together, whether that means flying around Denali, or white-water rafting.
All of the optional land excursions are purchased through the tour director on the Cruisetour itself, made available to the client on the first night.
It’s important to note that guests cannot use their onboard credit to purchase those land excursions; those must be used on board.
For more information on Celebrity’s Alaska offerings, visit www.CelebrityCruisetours.com/resources.
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