River cruises represent solid money-making potential for travel advisors. According to Travel Market Report’s 2022 Outlook on Trends in River Cruise, almost one in five advisors who sell river cruises are grossing more than $4 million in sales.
But why are river cruises so valuable?
First of all, most river cruises are at least a week in length, with many options even longer. As with ocean cruises, the longer the cruise, the more expensive. There are few short-break, low-cost river cruise offerings out there.
Of the travel advisors Travel Market Report surveyed, 63% of U.S. advisors said week-long river cruises are the most popular among their clients. In Canada, 54% of advisors said they typically book river cruises of longer than a week in length.
But the length of a river cruise – and related pricing – isn’t the only reason river cruises can be profitable for advisors. Travel Market Report dug into the data to unearth two reasons river cruises represent tremendous earning potential for advisors.
Who Is the River Cruise Client?
With almost no exceptions, the perfect client for a river cruise is one who can afford to spend more money.
In fact, 59% of advisors said their river cruise clients are among their highest-spending clients, where money is not an issue.
Who are these clients?
Of the advisors Travel Market Report surveyed for the Outlook, 89% said they’ve sold river cruises to couples, 88% have sold to seniors, and 82% have sold river cruises to empty nesters.
Eight-two percent classified their river cruise clients as luxury or affluent.
Interestingly, 44% have sold to multi-generational families. Such groups often comprise three generations and are often paid for entirely by the grandparents, making them a prime source of four-figure commissions for travel advisors.
Other client groups travel advisors have found success selling river cruises to include solo travelers, leisure groups, millennials and nuclear families, and clubs (such as wine, wellness, etc.).
More than Just the River Cruise
Another reason selling river cruises can be so profitable is that most people who go on a river cruise need and want more from their travel advisor than only the cruise booking.
For instance, of the advisors who reported selling river cruises, 85% also booked their clients’ ground transfers. Eight-three percent sold pre- and/or post-cruise packages, 73% booked their clients’ air, 58% did their hotel bookings, 58% sold insurance for the vacation, and 54% booked some of their clients’ in-destination activities.