Cruise Adviser comment: Travel agents must learn to fight sinking pound

Cruise Adviser comment: Travel agents must learn to fight sinking pound

As Morgan Stanley predicts sterling-euro parity by next year, Sam Ballard suggests ways in which you can help protect both your customers and your own sales

The announcement by Morgan Stanley, an investment bank, that predicted sterling-euro parity by early next year will be a wake up call to many consumers and businesses. It tells them where Brexit is going
to hit them hardest: their pocket.

The pound was trading at €1.31 the day before the Brexit vote in June 2016 and has been on almost uninterrupted downward spiral since.

For British tourists this means fewer euros in their pocket and concerns when travelling within the Eurozone. However, while the outlook is by no means rosy, there are some ways that your clients can try to shield themselves from the worst of sterling’s woes.

The most obvious way is by booking with a cruise line that takes sterling on board. The list includes the likes of Thomson, P&O, Cruise & Maritime Voyages and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. By booking with these operators, skittish clients can rest assured that they won’t be hammered by a sudden drop in the sterling-euro exchange rate while they’re away.

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Commenting on the advantages of booking with a sterling cruise line, Michele Andjel, director of communications for Carnival UK, said: “P&O Cruises operates in British sterling and all holiday, onboard spending and shore excursion costs are in pounds so our guests are shielded from currency fluctuations and can budget with peace of mind knowing the great value for money with a P&O Cruises holiday which includes accommodation, entertainment, round the clock age specific children’s clubs and dining.” 

Clients can also look into booking other elements of their package before they embark on their cruise. Booking drinks packages and shore excursions early on is another way that your customers can try and shield themselves while they’re away. It’s a way to give them peace of mind while also increasing your own sales. 

Whether you voted Remain or Leave in the EU referendum, few will argue that the UK isn’t going to be a turbulent place to live for the next couple of years – and likely beyond. As our politicians try and untangle more than 50 years of legislation and our diplomats attempt to thrash out trade deals, most of us have no choice but to buckle ourselves in.

For travel agents that means having to justify potential price increases from operators who are more exposed to the strength of foreign currencies. It also means looking at ways that these costs can be narrowed.

Do your homework and make sure you have an answer to problems your customers are likely to ask about. It won’t be easy, but if one thing is for sure in these uncertain times it’s that we’re all going to need a holiday!

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