For travelers accustomed to land vacations, taking their first cruise can often be a milestone on their travel bucket list. It can mean stepping outside of their comfort zone to embark on something exciting, but for them, not typical or familiar. Like anything, taking time to adapt to a new concept – be it travel or otherwise – is a necessary element to ensure the comfort factor.
Travel agents who sell pre- and post- cruise options to their clients understand this scenario and with the proliferation of commissionable Broadway, theater and sports events in port cities nationwide, it is becoming even easier to occupy (and even mildly distract) their clients as they get ready to embark on their cruise adventure. And the advantages don’t stop there: convenience, entertainment and value round out the list of why pre- and post- cruise experience options are a plus for clients and agents alike.
Arriving into a port city for departure a day or two prior to sailing is common practice for cruisers, especially during the winter season. One of the many concerns on the minds of first-time cruisers is fear of missing their departure, and trying to coordinate departing and arriving flights with that of a cruise line’s itinerary can sometimes present challenges. Often when a ship returns, flights do not depart until much later in the day. Considering most of these travelers are willing to take the advice of their agents and add a day or even more on to the front end of their trip, why not enhance their port experience even further with unforgettable and momentous experiences?
“I always suggest that my clients arrive early, and I reach out to the concierge at the resort and the local tourism board for current information [on local events]. In order to truly experience the destination, it’s important to leave the resort or hotel and experience the culture,” points out Susan Berman, president and CEO of Berman Travel in Ventnor, New Jersey.
Michael Hanlon, Dream Vacations franchise owner and vacation specialist in Wilmington, North Carolina, said it’s all about customer service: “Our clients come to us as travel agents to find out about things that they themselves might not know about and our job is to provide the best possible service. I have clients who like the idea of a sporting event or a concert prior to the start of or in conjunction with their vacation [so] I have used this as a value- add to certain itineraries to close the deal.”
Luxury travel report confirms events enhance experience
In TMR’s recently released Outlook on Luxury Report, of which over 650 travel agent readers were surveyed, researched showed that agents who want to increase their profits should be looking more towards sporting events or musical concert ticket sales. While they do not drive a larger percentage of trips, having a ticket broker or DMC who can help identify what is happening while clients are visiting a particular place can mean extra sales, and enhance the overall experience.
“You will gain a client’s trust and loyalty when they know they can come to you to get a one-of-a-kind vacation experience that was specifically created for them based on their likes, interests and dislikes. I like to call it ‘Vacation 360.’ That means covering every aspect of the vacation experience,” said Keith Belanger, Dream Vacations franchise owner and vacation specialist in Saco, Maine.
“Many times, clients don’t think about experiencing the ports where their cruise begins or ends, and they appreciate the suggestion of these additional experiences that can be had for very little expense – especially when it can make for selecting more cost-friendly flights. Sometimes the cost savings of these flight selections will actually cover the additional expense for a pre- and post-cruise add on. So you really get more experience for the same price.”
While a cruise can, and in most cases, should be the center of a vacation experience, offering bookend options that round out the vacation in ways your client never would have imagined could be the difference between a good vacation and a great vacation.
FROM THE SPONSOR:
To view a curated selection of top events happening in major port cities across the U.S and Canada this winter, we invite you to click on: http://www.events365.com/shake-up-pre-and-post-cruise-experiences/.
Events 365 offers travel consultants purchasing access to over 80,000 exciting live events around the world including sports, concerts, theater and special events. With over $2 billion worth of inventory running through an easy-to-access, internet-based booking platform, taking your clients' vacations to the next level is a breeze. Travel consultants have the ability to earn commissions even when their clients purchase directly by sending a dedicated link to them through the Events 365 booking portal. If that was not enough, Events 365 users also have a dedicated sales support team that will guide them through the registration and booking processes. Over 2,600 agents have currently registered to use the Events 365 platform since it went live to the agency community in June 2016. Click here to learn more about Events 365.