Editor's note: this is the first edition of Your Cruise Coach, a new bi-monthly column by Ming Tappin, a cruise expert and owner of Your Cruise Coach Consulting. She has now joined PAX as a regular contributor, representing the company at various industry functions, and in addition to this new online column, she will have a regular cruise feature in PAX Magazine.
Are you actively promoting cruises to your clients? If not, let's look at the biggest reasons why you should be.
First of all, a cruise vacation receives the highest guest satisfaction rate of all vacations - about 98 per cent. Every aspect of a cruise experience - accommodations, cuisine, service, entertainment, activities - surpasses the quality of a 4 or 5-star resort. Some of the typical complaints I have heard about resorts - bland food, repetitive menus, watered-down drinks, hard beds, tardy maid service, indifferent staff attitude - none of those exists on a cruise. Instead, you have multiple dining venues with ever changing menus, premium brand drinks, plush bedding, and attentive staff who genuinely cares.
Secondly, a cruise has tremendous value as the price includes the aforementioned experiences, and transportation. And there are many promotions and pricing structures that can incorporate beverages, tipping and even excursions to make it an all-inclusive vacation. When you convert the cruise fare into a per diem basis, there is no way you can replicate the same itinerary and quality of experience on land for the same price.
A cruise is also a great way to get a taste of multiple destinations in one trip. The average port visit is eight hours, which is ample time for visiting the main attractions. Some ships stay late into the evening or even overnight, allowing time to enjoy the nightlife. Best part is, if you liked a port, you can plan to return another time, but if you hated it, at least you aren't stuck there for a week!
Lastly, there is more money in it for you! Even if you are just starting out at 10 per cent, you are still earning more commission than selling land-based vacations. And once you start to produce, your commission rate will increase, and you can reach as high as 15 or 16 per cent, or even up to 18 per cent on river cruises. If your agency belongs to a consortium, you may also have access to higher commission rates quicker. Common cruise add-ons such as airfare, hotel extensions & excursions will also add to your earning potential.
So, the next time a client asks you for a vacation suggestion, instead of reaching immediately for an AI resort, consider recommending a cruise. Your clients will have a great experience, and you will have a better bottom line.