How to Sell Asia Cruises

by Daniel McCarthy

This is part two  in a two-part series on Asian cruising

A new survey by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) shows that an increasing number of people are looking past Europe and the Caribbean for cruise destinations.

For travel agents who have a cruise-happy client base, Asia may be what’s next.

Agents may have sold cruises before, but dealing with a region as large, diverse and exotic as Asia can pose some problems to even the most experienced of agents.

While the CLIA survey shows a substantial increase in interest in Asia, the region still only has a 6% share of the cruise market. Some agents believe this is because their clients haven’t truly considered the region.

“Agents need to be more proactive here, saying ‘hey, have you ever thought of Asia?’ Feel free to bring it up. Tell them a little more about Southeast Asia, tell them about the cruise and land packages, and about all the options they have,” said Trinita Brown, a CruiseOne franchisee from Washington, D.C.

Others are already seeing a major uptick in the number of clients interested in taking a cruise in Asia.

Anne-Marie Riley of Travel Trends in Hauppauge, N.Y., has booked five times the number of Asian cruises this year than any other year. She believes that her client base is now looking outside of the Caribbean and Europe for cruises, and Asia seems to be the next big thing.

“I think people are spreading their horizons and places that used to be taboo or far away or out of reach are all of a sudden available,” she said, “but I still do have to mention Asia to a lot of my cruisers.”

Combine the common and exotic
Most people traveling on cruises in the region are Asian passengers, according to the CLIA report, but agents seem to believe that these cruises can attract Western passengers, especially the type that haven’t cruised the region before.

“I think people are looking outside of the Caribbean now,” said Riley. “Asia is very different than the Caribbean; it’s not the ship, it’s the destination.”

This focus on the destination, as opposed to the vessel itself, can help agents attract experienced cruisers.

“Because the destination is so unique, it’s going to be a totally different experience” said Riley.  People [now] want to go outside the box.”

For an agent selling an Asian cruise, the key is combining a familiar experience with unfamiliar locations.

Brown said that even for the clients who rather stick with what they know, you can still push an experience in Asia because of the variety of cruise ships traveling the region’s waters.

“If they love Cunard or Crystal, they can go there with that line,” said Brown. “They can be familiar with the ship in a place that maybe they won’t be familiar.”

Every single major cruise line now has ships somewhere in Asia, and most of them have more than one, so guests will have their choice of familiar cruise lines to cruise on.

Familiarize yourself with the region
Agents new to selling agents should familiarize themselves with the geography and culture of the region.

“It helps to get yourself on a fam trip, but even just learning more is going to make it a little more exciting for your client,” said Brown.

Whether there’s interest in Shanghai in the northeast, or Thailand in Southeast Asia, a client’s experiences will vary greatly in different parts of the region.

When a client approaches you in hopes of information, you have to be able to provide specific information about the region’s attractions.

“People are very demanding so you have to know your area and product in order to present it in the correct way,” said Brown. “It will be tough to help clients decide on cruises and excursions if you don’t know your history and geography.”

Dwain Wall, co-president and chief operating officer of WorldCruise.cn, recognized the need for agents to educate themselves about the region “to win the trust and respect of their customers.”

Wall recommends the CLIA training programs that are available to agents, as well as individual cruise line agent training programs.

“Helping agents understand the lines, the ships, and what differentiates them… will help them match their clients with the right cruise vacation.”


Related Story
Asian Cruise Market Grows as Cruise Lines Expand Offerings

  2
  2
Tip of the Day

“Tack on days to other trips and conferences for exploring other properties. Get the most bang for your buck on every airfare you purchase, and use any free or discounted nights you have earned to make it an affordable and personalized fam." - Suzanne Haire, Travel Advisor

Daily Top List

Five Ways to Improve Your Work Performance

1. Organize and prioritize

2. Stop multitasking

3. Avoid distractions

4. Manage Interruptions

5. Be a great finisher

Source: IRIS.xyz

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Sales Superstars: Goodtime Travel’s Charlie Brown Talks Expedition Cruises
Sales Superstars: Goodtime Travel’s Charlie Brown Talks Expedition Cruises

As new ships come to market and cruise lines expand their itineraries, this is an emerging niche for travel advisors to tap into.

Is Expedition Cruising the Next Big Travel Trend?
Is Expedition Cruising the Next Big Travel Trend?

New study reveals where clients want to go and provides insights into how travel advisors can sell more expedition cruises.

Here’s What Wi-Fi Costs on Major Airlines
Here’s What Wi-Fi Costs on Major Airlines

More and more airlines are making it easier and cheaper to connect to the internet while in flight, while others have been slow to update their services or prices.

Canadian Advisors Can Win Trip to Thailand with G Adventures
Canadian Advisors Can Win Trip to Thailand with G Adventures

From May 14 – June 10, travelers save 15% and travel advisors get one entry for every traveler booked into a contest for a G Adventures' Thailand tour.

Six Ways to Get the Best ROI at Your Next Industry Conference
Six Ways to Get the Best ROI at Your Next Industry Conference

Whether the next travel conference is in your hometown, across the country, or across the globe, here are some ideas about how to make the most of your time there.

Warwick Paradise Island Offering Agents Cash Bonuses on Top of Commissions
Warwick Paradise Island Offering Agents Cash Bonuses on Top of Commissions

Travel agents must complete the WPIB Specialist training with the adults-only, all-inclusive resort’s sales team in order to get the added bonuses.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks