PAXnewsWest caught up with Lisa Willey, District Sales Manager, Western Canada for Uniworld and U by Uniworld to talk about selling Uniworld in Western Canada.
PAXNewsWest: What’s new at Uniworld?
Lisa Willey: This past off season we renovated the River Beatrice, she is now the SS Beatrice. It was a bow-to-stern full refurbishment, adding a beautiful grand staircase and more adjoining staterooms and suites.
Then at the end of this season we will be renovating the River Royale, she is our ship in Bordeaux and she is going to be renamed the SS Bon Voyage. And then we are taking our River Empress and she is also going to get a bow-to-stern refurbishment as well.
PNW: What do travel agents need to know to sell it effectively?
LW: A lot. Know the brand. It’s easy to sell once you know it. Even though price points could be more with Uniworld, you get what you pay for. We are the most all-inclusive river brand in Europe. You can get on the ship and have a zero-balance bill.
Gratuities are included, not just for our staff but for the local guides.
The endless pour of wine is all included, as is your premium spirits, your local wines, your local beers.
Our guests have choice of included shore excursions, because we realize that everybody is different, has different interests, so you choose what kind of experience you want out of the list we have. They are a carefully curated collection of experiences and very exclusive as well.
U by Uniworld launched this spring, geared toward the young and young-at-heart
PNW: Do you have a specialist program?
LW: We have Uniworld University, which is only three modules. There are two on Uniworld, one on U by Uniworld, so it’s a small investment of your time to gain knowledge. It unlocks the mystery of travel agent rates as well. We have those available and they are up to 70 per cent off the Europe product.
PNW: Can you talk a bit about U by Uniworld?
LW: U by Uniworld just started cruising this past April. It is designed for the young and the young-at-heart.
It’s not all-inclusive, but there are very healthy inclusions: your gratuities are included on the ship. We have two meals a day; instead of the full emphasis on all of the dining, it’s more of a connection to the destination and not tying you to the ship by having all the inclusions in the meals.
Shore excursions are included – along with the option to pay for U Time Experiences. We did introduce drink packages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. You could add that on and make it an all-inclusive.
It’s a great product for honeymooners, for solo travellers; we have grandparents taking their kids for graduation gifts and groups of travellers. There is something for everyone and it is at a much lower lead-in price.
PNW: Do you have three selling tips?
LW: Get to know and understand the product so you can explain the experience. Don’t assume it’s going to be a much higher price point and priced out of your client’s zone.
Sell the value, do the comparison, with the inclusions.
A happy client is a repeat client and we have a very, very high repeat factor.