Travel agents are critical to the success of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, according to the line’s UK boss.
Speaking on board the company’s new ultra-luxury ship, Seven Seas Splendor, Graham Sadler, Regent’s UK managing director, said that the trade was “critical”.
“We need them [the trade] to advocate and to be able to articulate the difference with Regent Seven Seas, because we are different,” he added.
“That’s a conversation that needs to be had. We’re asking customers to spend quite a lot of money on an invisible purchase – it could be £10,000, £20,000, £30,000. We need to train the trade – and we have a full time training and events manager – we are committed to travel agent training and articulating the brand proposition.”
Splendor is the sister ship of Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer, which was launched in 2016. The 750-passenger ship, which cost about €422 million to build, includes a number of differences to Explorer, including a flipped deck five and an outdoor seating area for Coffee Connections. Splendor represents a 28 per cent increase to Regent’s capacity.
The ship also includes a wider use of the Vero water purification system. On board Splendor, guests will be able to use re-usable bottles to fill up around the ship and take away with them on shore excursions. The system is used across the fleet in restaurants and suites. Regent will take more than two million water bottles out of the supply chain annually by using the system.
Steve Odell, the line’s vice president & managing director of Asia Pacific, also advocated the trade during a press conference on board: “It’s a global approach. Travel trade distribution is the most efficient form of distribution we have. This is a face-to-face, word-of-mouth business and we can’t do that without travel agents. Trade distribution is king in our world.”
Jason Montague, the company’s president & CEO, added: “Regent is the most inclusive vacation experience out there. We need our partners to educate our guests. People say there are a lot of luxury ships coming online but when you look at suites across the industry – and Regent is an all suite ship – luxury only represents 25-30 per cent of all suites in the industry.
“So that means there are guests going on suites similar size, paying a different starting price, but when you package everything in together, they’re paying relatively the same amount. It’s our partners who truly help educate guests and put them on the right product.”