"Look after the customer and the business will take care of itself."
At Cruise Franchise, it is worth noting that our specialists receive some of the highest commission earnings in the industry. With the cruise industry forever continuing to grow, there has certainly never been a better time to be a part of it all.
Sometimes, however, it is worth taking a step back and remembering the importance of looking after each and every customer. It may seem tempting to place a customer on a line which will earn you the most commission, but if you want said customer to making bookings with you in future it is important to take the time to get to know them.
Going into 2016, this is perhaps the strongest piece of advice available. More and more cruise lines are aiming their latest products at younger audiences and those who may have never cruised before. The importance of placing a first-time cruiser not only on the correct line but the correct ship is more paramount than ever. If they aren’t placed on the correct ship, there is a possibility that they may never cruise again.
These are points which have been emphasised by key figures within the industry in recent weeks. Carnival UK chairman, David Dingle, provided his thoughts on agent earnings at the CLIA Cruise Forum in Tilbury earlier this month. “Fitting the customer to the brand is crucial and not to the brand where at the time you have a 5% override or a better base commission. That’s all great in the short term, but if you fit the customer correct to the brand you will have a customer for life.”
He also spoke out against Virgin Cruises, which is scheduled to launch commercial operations in 2020. In July, their president and CEO, Tom McAlpin, described the cruising industry at present as being “vanilla” in that everything is the same across the board.
David Dingle responded to these comments swiftly by stating: “Carnival certainly isn’t a vanilla company which provides the same thing to everybody. It offers distinctly different experiences to distinctly different customers all over the world and that is fundamentally why Carnival is as successful as it is and I’m sure the other global corporations would say that same.”
Carnival Corporation is made up of many renowned cruise lines including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises, Cunard and Seabourn. It is true to suggest each line offers something different, for example, P&O Cruises offers guests traditional family friendly cruising; whilst Cunard is renowned for offering more luxurious experiences.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. also owns a good percentage of the lines within the cruise industry, but it is important to note the differences between each line. Royal Caribbean offer cruises to suit the entire family, whilst Celebrity Cruises – also owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. – provides a more luxurious offering.
To summarise, it is worth getting to know your customer on a personal level – find out more about who they are without the sense interrogation. This will gain your customer’s trust and gives them the feeling that you aren’t just after a decent slice of commission. Find out where your customer wants to go, when they want to go and for how long and present them with a range of opportunities.
It is important not to push them into sailing with a particular cruise line but instead ensuring you have done your research. Be ready to answer any questions that come your way and be patient with each customer. Getting the first booking correct will ensure you have a customer for life.
Whilst it is fair to say the cruise industry will continue to grow for the foreseeable future; having strong business knowledge is key to success. At Cruise Franchise, we provide all the training and resources you could possibly need to help you on your way to a new and exciting career opportunity.
For more information, contact us via the Freephone Number above or complete an Online Enquiry Form.