MSC Cruises has confirmed that its January sales have increased by 55 per cent year-on-year.
Speaking exclusively to Cruise Adviser, MSC’s director of sales Steve Williams said: “The new sales team are almost all in place, we’ve been out for the last three months and have just had our best ever January. The guys are already having a huge impact on the trade just from being out, going to cruise events, being in travel agents doing training. We’ve already, very quickly, seen the benefit of doing that, which is fantastic.”
MSC now has a team of six regional managers – including a presence in Northern Ireland for the first time and a head of retail, Andrea Stafford, who is charged with developing the company’s high street strategy.
“When I joined the company in October my main remit was to restructure the sales team to offer the UK trade the same level of service that we already offered the Irish trade, albeit on a bigger scale,” Williams added.
It was also revealed that the company’s e-learning tool is currently being overhauled to take into account the 11 ships that it has on order, as well as a module on MSC Magnifica, its first vessel to homeport in the UK.
“We have small pockets of agents who really, really get what we do and sell us in huge numbers,” Williams said. “However, outside of this, there is a lack of awareness about what we are. My job over the next two to three years is to re-educate or educate the trade and tell them how we differ from other cruise lines.”
He also stressed how important the trade was to MSC’s growth plans: “My job will be trade. We are 100 per cent trade friendly, almost all of our business comes through the trade and I am totally trade focused.”