The prospect of selling expedition cruises can be daunting. The itineraries are surprisingly varied, the price tags are high and it’s pretty much as niche as you can get.
However, for those who are prepared to put in the legwork, specialising in expedition cruises could be the best decision you will ever make. We’ve outlined our top tips below, for any agents thinking of branching out into the exciting world of expedition cruises.
1. Sell on destination
This is an obvious one but time and time again research comes back showing that cruise passengers buy on destination. It’s the number one factor in their decision making. Expedition cruises are all about the destination so make sure it’s a big factor in your pitch.
2. Know that there is more than one brand
Don’t make the mistake of painting the whole sector with one brush. It may be a niche area but there is a whole world of operators out there. From luxury lines like Silversea through to the more rugged experiences of Lindblad; know what your customer wants and point them in the right direction.
3. Have answers ready for questions on price… in fact prepare for any question!
There’s no getting around it: these experiences cost more money. But, sell to a customer on price and you will lose them on price. Make sure you have answers ready to combat any questions that do come up. These are bucket list destinations and people will pay for them – that’s proven.
4. Be aware of health issues but not frightened of them
If an elderly customer comes in and asks if this cruise is right for them, be sure to point them in the right direction. If they have mobility issues then this could create an issue getting into zodiacs, which is undoubtedly one of the highlights – but find out what they’re looking for. Ensure you manage expectations and don’t leave them disappointed while on their trip.
5. Make clear what’s included
Your client is not going to spend every minute of their holiday on the Antarctic ice. The Polar Regions are heavily protected so make sure they’re aware of what their days will be made up of. What are they looking for out of this experience? Again, talk them through the process.
6. Why are they going? Be prepared!
Are your guests wanting a ‘real experience’? Are they looking to photograph wildlife? If so, what kind? You know penguins and polar bears live on opposite ends of the earth, right? Most cruise websites will advertise their itineraries if wildlife is a specific factor – like whale watching for example – but find out what they want to see. Or is it just to sip champagne and see icebergs? And what kind of ice for that matter? ‘Big ice’ is typically in Antarctica while the Arctic has ice that looks ‘dirtier’ however both do have icebergs…
7. Pack accordingly
OK, so this sounds obvious, but what exactly is included? Does the cruise company provide specialist clothing? Often they do but different lines vary. Some give you boots, others jackets etc. Make sure you check!
8. And finally… Do you know who to look for when trying to sell expedition cruises?
The most important point of all. If you’re wanting to enter a niche market – who is your ideal customer? From our experience they come in all shapes and sizes, but we’ve done our best to break it down into the following four points:
The expedition cruiser:
- Someone who can afford to take such a trip – both financially and from a time perspective. These aren’t mini-cruises and can easily run well over 10-days
- The bucket list ticker. Someone who has been everywhere and done everything and is now looking to the ends of the earth for their next fix.
- The thrill seeker. Let’s not forget, these are harsh conditions and are definitely not for everyone. There is nothing wrong with a flop and drop holiday after all…
- An interest in the environment, wildlife or enrichment. That can take a million forms but these regions are unique habitats that have a surprising wealth of wildlife. Everyone will have a camera.
Did we miss any out? Let us know your top tips to sell expedition cruises below