GoCruise Conference - July 2015
Six months have passed since the previous GoCruise conference, which was held in Liverpool earlier this year. With many ship launches in that time such as P&O Cruises’ Britannia and Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, the cruise industry can certainly be considered a booming market.
Since being established in 2001, GoCruise has grown from strength to strength and is now one of the most respected cruise franchises in the industry. It was bought by Fred. Olsen Travel over ten years ago and, at present, has acquired over 60 cruise specialists from across the country.
On July 1st, GoCruise specialists gathered together at Copdock Hall, Ipswich, for a day of feedback, talks, networking opportunities and entertainment. This conference would also be the first to combine with sister companies: Fred. Olsen Travel and Fred.\ Holidays. Combining the conferences together gave GoCruise specialists the unique opportunity to network with people from across the cruise industry, as well as other sectors of the travel and holiday industries.
Geoff Ridgeon - Head of Cruise
Head of Cruise, Geoff Ridgeon, leapt to the stage to welcome all in attendance at the morning session. Geoff began by shedding light on the state of the cruise industry as a whole and how GoCruise shapes up with various statistics, graphs and pie charts. The success of the last six months, due in part to a number of high profile ship launches, was reiterated.
“It’s fantastic, yet again, to be able to stand up here as we celebrate yet another successful six months of trading.”
“I think the buoyancy we’ve seen from GoCruise in 2014, with such growth we’ve already seen in 2015, gives us more encouragement still that we continue to make a difference.”
“We are certainly within the top 20 agents in the UK with nearly all of the cruise lines but actually, in some cases, we are sitting in the top 10 and in some cases sitting in the top five. This reaffirms our position as one of the biggest cruise agents out there.”
Geoff also spoke about the commercial advantages of GoCruise. The credit card fees are lower than some of the closest competitors; whilst it is also worth noting that GoCruise does not charge amendment or cancellation fees greater than that imposed by the operator.
The conference is an opportunity to share thoughts, opinions and concerns regarding the last six months and the future. Following feedback provided by GoCruise specialists; Geoff was able to draw light on some of the areas where more assistance may be required.
Bridget Coe - Franchise Manager
GoCruise Franchise Manager, Bridget Coe, shared business tips and advice on how to sustain loyalty with customers. She also discussed business behaviours and why some customers are less loyal than others.
“Loyalty doesn’t just happen by accident. Building those relationships takes time and effort. Above all, it means paying attention to who your customers are and understand what motivates them to buy from you.”
“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time, or we’ll lose them.”
“In order to keep our customers happy, we have to listen to their needs and their wants. By us taking the time to truly assess our customers’ desires and provide them with things they want and need, we are showing them that we really care.”
“Research suggests up to 68% of customers switch to a different company because of perceived indifference… We need to differentiate ourselves if we are to keep [customers] loyal. We have to remember that if we don’t stay in touch with our customers, our competitors will.”
“Don’t hesitate to ask customers how you can do it better. Your business has to be more than the mandatory worth you attach to the holiday products you sell.”
In the afternoon, following the morning session at Copdock Hall, cruise specialists were joined by representatives from Fred. Olsen Travel and Fred.\ Holidays for an afternoon of networking with cruise lines at the Cameo Hotel, Ipswich. Many cruise lines had a stand set up within the room and were able to answer questions and provide the latest offers and brochures.
A wide variety of cruise lines were present at the event including: Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Cunard, AmaWaterways, Star Clippers and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. This was a perfect opportunity for cruise specialists to learn more about cruise lines they may have previously known little about.
Priti Mehta – Head of Sales for Oceania Cruises
Michael English – Head of Business Development for Celebrity Cruises.
Priti Mehta, Head of Sales for Oceania Cruises, and Michael English, Head of Business Development for Celebrity Cruises, both offered their thoughts on selling the cruise product.
Oceania Cruises offer a luxury product for a specific market and Priti offered sales advice on how to sell the luxury product to your customers, as well as how to improve overall sales technique.
Michael provided advice on how to differentiate your business from the competition and acknowledged the competitiveness of the market as a whole. He also encouraged cruise specialists embrace technology and get involved with all the resources available.
Following the talks; an evening of food and drink, games, music and socialising ensued – with cruise specialists being able to get to know one another in a fun and friendly atmosphere. The theme for the evening was cowboy and western and everyone was encouraged to dress in suitable attire.
This is an example of advice and assistance you will receive by becoming a GoCruise specialist. By joining GoCruise Franchise, you will receive full training from our experienced and highly knowledgeable travel experts.
Additionally, it is worth noting that GoCruise is owned by Fred. Olsen Travel – a respectable and trustworthy brand with extensive experience in the travel industry.
Join our family of over 60 cruise specialists from across the country, who already run their own GoCruise Franchise business with flexibility and confidence.
Contact us via the Freephone Number above or complete an Online Enquiry Form.