In September, Clia UK & Ireland will be launching its brand new event for travel agents. Labelled the New to Cruise Summit, the day is designed specifically around those agents who have little experience when it comes to selling cruise. It’s a fantastic idea, that should broaden the number of agents who can comfortably talk about cruise to their customers, rather than trying to sell them a holiday back on land. We asked Andy Harmer, the director of Clia UK & Ireland, to tell us a little bit more about the event.
CA: Where did the idea for the New to Cruise Summit come from?
AH: As with many of the things we do, it came from feedback we received from some of our travel agents. We do a lot of very good training online for those people who are new to cruise and those people who want to sell more cruise and bring their knowledge up to speed. While we have built our event programme around much of the industry – expedition, luxury, river etc – we haven’t put something together for agents who are about to sell cruise for the first time. Phil Nuttall, managing director of the Cruise Village, spoke at the Selling Cruise Conference about the importance of young people coming into the industry and choosing it as a career. We thought it would be a good idea to do an event covering many of the essentials and basics for that fresh intake too.
Anything we can do to help our agent partners book more cruise has to be good for the industry
CA: Is this to bolster the travel agencies’ “cruise experts”?
AH: When I started in the travel industry I was selling holidays over the phone and remember that I was great at selling package holidays to Spain but as soon as someone asked for a cruise or ski holiday I was completely panicked. So while it’s important that we have ambassadors for the cruise industry by the same token agencies need staff who can talk with confidence and handle early inquiries. And with a little bit of knowledge they can help anybody. Anything we can do to help our agent partners book more cruise has to be good for the industry.
CA: What form will the summit take?
AH: It’s a combination of things, there will be some sales techniques, some product updates and we’ll include some destination information. It will be a synopsis of what’s happening in the industry, what’s new, what’s exciting and what’s coming in the future. With the announcements of fathom, Virgin Cruises and other newbuilds, the cruise industry is moving quite quickly. We’ll try and break that down to help new to cruise people understand the industry a little better.
Clia’s New to Cruise Summit will run on 15 September in London