Over the coming weeks, seven industry experts will share their predictions for the coming year as part of our ‘Where next for cruise?’ series to mark the launch of Cruise Adviser’s Preview guide 2016. This week it is Rachel Poultney, head of sales at Princess Cruises.
There are lots of developments under way at Princess Cruises to make us very excited for 2016.
As the company’s new head of sales it is going to be my job to help guide our sales team and make sure we are doing everything we can to help our travel agent partners. For the last three years I have worked for Princess Cruises as a sales manager for our major accounts, including TUI, Iglu and Bolsover Cruise Club. That means that I know front-line agents. I know sales managers and I know commercial teams. I am going to use that experience to take the brand forward in the UK.
I’ve always been close to my accounts and I don’t want that to change. However, I will be stepping back from the day-to-day management of them and instead I will now be looking at things from a more strategic point of view. We have five sales managers across a wide distribution of agents and I’ll be making sure that we are going down the same path and are easy to do business with.
I am also coming into the role at a very good time.
We have done a huge amount of work over the last couple of years to help our relationship with the trade. From our ‘Frontline First’ initiative to our One Source booking platform, we have made engaging with the trade a priority — and done more than just pay lip service to their feedback. We have invested in new technology and done everything we can to make our relationship with the trade better.
Our biggest bit of news for next year is going to be the arrival of Emerald Princess to the UK. The ship, which will be our main ex-UK vessel in 2016, has been through an extensive refurbishment and come out the other side with some very exciting new areas on board, including our Salty Dog Gastro pub and ‘Share’ restaurant.
We will be trying to get as many agents as possible on board to see the ship and eat in those venues
so that they can confidently sell Princess Cruises to their customers.
I also want to really develop our agent toolkit to give the trade the tools they need to be able to sell Princess Cruises.
By the end of 2016, if we ask a travel agent and they say that we are easy to do business with, they are familiar with our brand and are confident in selling our product, then we will have done a good job.