For a travel agent, the unrelenting pace of a ship inspection can feel like you’re steering against gale-force winds. Below are 10 suggestions from Host Agency Reviews to ensure your next ship inspection is smooth sailing:
1. Choose wisely: When deciding which cruise ships to inspect, prioritize those that fit your niche, disembark from a port you’ve never visited, offer access to a new ship or reflect the budget range of cruises you most frequently book.
2. Be prepared: Make sure you have enough storage on your phone or camera to take all the photos and videos your heart desires (and don’t count on access to Wi-Fi).
3. Begin your inspection at the port: Is there Wi-Fi? Are there enough restrooms and seating areas? Are staff polite to the cruisers? The embarkation experience will set the tone for a client’s cruise!
4. Focus on the experience, not the specs: Be sure you’re not reinventing the wheel by documenting information you can find online. Focus on intangible qualities such as the mood of the staff and cruisers and the overall “vibe” of the ship.
5. Take note of the demographics of the cruisers: This will help you qualify your own clients. Who’s on board? Families? Millennials? Retirees? Groups?
6. Chat with cruisers and cruise staff: Are the cruisers starting on a high note? Are they relaxed and happy? Anxious and stressed? Ask a staff for directions to the spa or pool. Do they seem flustered or happy to help even if it’s not their job?
7. Take stock of the overall ship layout: Are the hallways and stairs navigable? Are there enough elevators? How many kiosks, staff, or check in points are there to help direct cruisers where they want to go?
8. Food, glorious food: Is there a variety of restaurants available? A diversity of food options on the main dining menu? Is it tasty (would you want to eat it every day for a week)? Are dining staff accommodating to food restrictions? Are there ample seating options for group and more intimate dining?
9. Stateroom Feng Shui: How is the room layout? Does it feel spacious even when there’s not a lot of space to work with? Is there room to stash items under a bed? Beds you can stow away during the day to give you more breathing room? A split bathroom to accommodate pairs?
10. Harness the power of social media: Post video and pics on your social media channels and travel agency website. Focus on representing aspects of your inspection that are unique and really wowed you. Your enthusiasm will pique your clients interest!
Following these ten tips will go a long way to make sure your next ship inspection a successful one. Bon voyage!