On the Road: Bekkie Skipp, Holland America Line & Seabourn

Seabourn Odyssey

We speak to the people who make your job easier. This month: Business Development Manager North & Scotland for Holland America Line & Seabourn


What does your job entail on a day-to-day basis?

I am proud to work for two incredible cruise brands and my job entails managing our partner agent accounts, visiting call centres, organising events with agents, such as ship visits or joint consumer events, plus of course training agency staff on our Holland America Line and Seabourn brands.

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How long have you worked in the travel industry?

I started in travel 22 years ago, working for a long-haul tour operator.  I’ve now spent five years in the cruise industry, which I love because it’s such close community and has so much energy. Clia of course brings all cruise brands and cruise selling agents together at seminars and events to help with our main focus of getting more people to cruise!

What’s the best thing about being on the road?

It’s the incredible variety of the role.  Every day is so different. One day I might be taking treats to reward agents in Chester, another day running a Seabourn ship visit in Leith, Edinburgh. The next with my colleagues in Southampton at one of our sales meetings.

What’s the worst?

I love every aspect of the job, but it’s definitely not nine-to-five – so we work through a lot of weekends when our agent partners run shows and key consumer events! I have to be ultra-organised and keep my calendar up to date to avoid clashes between my social and business life.

Favourite place to visit?

I recently took an agent fam trip to Singapore, having previously visited more than 15 years ago. I love the food, the culture, the ambience and cleanliness of the city, it’s such a great place for people of all ages to visit – and of course take a Holland America Line or Seabourn cruise from!

What do you listen to in the car?

Easy listening, BBC Radio 2. I know I am showing my age, but great traffic updates are key for getting me to meetings on time!

One thing you couldn’t live without?

It has to be my mobile!

What’s your favourite thing about working for HAL?

I’ve just come back from our global sales meeting on MS Oosterdam sailing from San Diego to Vancouver… and one of the best things about our brand has to be the food! When cruising with my family
I love the mixture of casual days by the lido pool, enjoying one of our famous Dive-In burgers, to putting on my best dress to impress for the gala evenings, where delicious multi-course menus are served in the dining room by our friendly, efficient staff.

What is the biggest myth about HAL?

That we are for older people! We actually have incredible Club HAL activities for children aged three upwards onboard, including BBC Earth Frozen Planet quizzes and entertainment. There really is something for every age onboard.
In fact, I am taking my family on a Holland America Line cruise this summer!

If agents want to find out more, what should they do?

I am always available to talk to agents in the North & Scotland on 07780 490 748. However, the best way to start selling our brands is to take our excellent online training at halacademy.co.uk or seabournacademy.co.uk. You can contact the sales team on salessupport@hollandamerica.co.uk or salessupport@seabourn.co.uk for training or a webinar or contact us if you’d like to visit a ship in the UK this summer!

Cruise Adviser

Cruise Adviser is the leading cruise publication for the travel trade. The magazine contains insightful comment, features, cruise news and advice for those looking to sell cruise holidays. Uniquely aimed at front-line travel agents, two thirds of readers say the magazine has helped them make a sale.

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