Booming Capacity in the Caribbean Is Good News for Travel Advisors

by Jessica Montevago
Booming Capacity in the Caribbean Is Good News for Travel Advisors

TMR's Geraldine Ree (left) and panelists including Derek Lloyd, Nikki Upshaw, Carol Herron, and Marigold Frontuna.

With capacity in the Caribbean on the upswing, opportunity is abound for travel advisors, with more products, more rooms, and more amenities than ever before, according to an executive panel at Travel MarketPlace West in Vancouver last week.

Panelists Derek Lloyd, National Director of Sales, Canada for Norwegian Cruise Line; Nikki Upshaw, Senior Vice President of Sales for Oceania Cruises; Carol Herron, Vice President, Field Sales for Regent Seven Seas Cruises; and Marigold Frontuna, General Manager Sales of Western Canada for Air Canada Vacations, spoke about how the best way to achieve sales growth in the region is to hone in on the nuances between the various islands and destinations.

The capacity increase, according to Marigold Fortuna, “allows us to add more product to those destinations for you to sell and earn more revenue” and travel advisors are doing just that—according to  Travel Market Report’s Caribbean Outlook, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Canadian travel advisors said somebody in their office or themselves specializes in selling the Caribbean.

Derek Lloyd told the 250 advisors in attendance that the best way to do this is by taking advantage of every training opportunity available. “Your clients will have confidence you know what you’re talking about, not just reading off a brochure.”

If you’re getting that information firsthand through a fam trip, have a plan about what you’re going to do with that experience both when you’re traveling and when you get home.

“Ask yourself what is your plan, what are you doing on social media during the trip, and what will you do with your customers when you get back,” said Lloyd.

If time is limited, Carol Herron said, developing a relationship with local sales rep is a great way to know the product more in-depth, as “they can share really great tips, what works and trends.”

And while some may associate the region with “fly and flop” destinations, there’s so much more to offer clients if that’s not what they’re looking for. By qualifying each client, said Herron, you can determine whether they want more than just a standard beach getaway. Herron said Cuba has been a popular destination, for example, for travelers to connect to their roots and learn more about the nation’s history and culture.

It’s these unique angles that each destination has, that you can present to your clients, echoed Nikki Upshaw, highlighting the golf tie in with resorts in Bermuda. There’s also destinations that better cater to wellness, yoga retreats and gastronomy, to name a few.

Families, Millennials, and more
The Outlook also revealed that family vacations was the top segment that Canadian agents match to various Caribbean travel products, saying they book them regularly or sometimes.

Millennials, who are now upwards of 40, are a growing market, said Lloyd. “They have kids and are looking to travel. Go after that market, and once you can get a core group together it will grow from there.”

Fortuna said the Caribbean is also popular among families. “The water is calm; and the bright product there with facilities to entertain kids at resorts is a perfect fit. Family can have a different definition to each individual, maybe for some it’s multi-gen and for others it’s a mother and daughter, so there’s a lot of opportunities to grow this segment.”

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