Janet Parton column: off-peak cruises

Venice

Janet Parton, director of sales at Cosmos and Avalon Waterways, shares her thoughts on the cruise industry. This month: off-peak cruises


As we sprint towards the end of the financial year, we naturally take a bird’s eye view of sales spikes across the past 12 months. But what can we do as sales agents to actively entice the avid traveller to consider cruising out of season?

The opportunity to encourage those with the budget and/or inclination to take an additional trip offers as many rewards for our guests as it does for the sales team. Off-peak cruising offers an exciting array of options and opportunities, from guests’ preferred cabin class being more readily available, to wider itinerary choices.

But what about those who are new to cruise? Here are a few top tips to encourage customers to consider an out of season cruise, be it that their preferred itinerary is sold out in peak season or the cruise is beyond their preferred price range, there are plenty of reasons to attract out of season cruisers.

Off-season travel often means better prices. During peak season, flights, hotels and cruises are all at a premium as desirability to travel to specific destinations runs high. For those new to cruise, an off-peak cruise can offer a more accessible price point for exploring a new type of holiday. This is also true for solo travellers. With greater capacity available, solo supplements are often reduced at these times, making it a much more cost-effective way to holiday alone.

Cruising out of season also enables greater ease of movement and improved maximisation of time as cities and towns are often quieter. With less tourists enjoying the sights, cruisers exploring a city within a limited time-frame will queue
less, saving valuable time to explore the destination.

The same goes for immersing themselves in the local culture and gaining a sense of the community. Off peak, more locals remain in their own city, town or village. This may make them more readily available to interact with, given their abundance and less tourists to cut through. Local bars and restaurants may also have a more authentic and leisurely feel about them, too.

Holidaying out of season also means out of school holidays. For those without school age children, beaches and tourist attractions typically offer a calmer atmosphere – a quieter and more relaxing version of its peak season self. November is a great month to travel as it doesn’t have any UK school holidays within it.

In recent years, we have seen a noticeable rise in autumn and spring travel as travellers make the most of milder temperatures – pleasant weather for city sightseeing! While the days might be shorter and cooler, the allure of early winter sun is also a strong selling point for out of season cruise.

From comfortable temperatures and quieter crowds to a greater sense of uncovering a hidden gem, off-peak cruising has a lot to offer established cruisers and also those who are new to cruise.

Read the latest issue of Cruise Adviser

Read the March 2019 issue of Cruise Adviser.The latest issue of Cruise Adviser, the only destination for those selling cruise. In this issue, Anthony Pearce joins Uniworld on the Rhône; Sara Macefield checks out Princess Cruises’ Ocean Medallion; Sam Ballard explores the rise of small-ship cruise; plus, Jane Archer takes a closer took at St Petersburg, the jewel in any Baltics cruise

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