Wave season is in full swing, and we’re getting buried under supplier emails with wave season offers. The cruise lines seemingly have moved away from sending out ONE wave season promotion (usually emailed to travel partners before the onslaught of booking requests started). It feels like multiple wave season offers are coming out weekly, with some new incentive; either incentivizing travel agents (book more, enter to win an iPad Air 2) or incentivizing clients ($25 deposits or 50% off deposits, discounts off cruise fares, onboard amenity offers, etc.). How do you keep up?
It is near impossible to keep up with every offer/promotion that comes our way. So what are we supposed to do? First, don’t panic, and don’t let it overwhelm you. By now you hopefully have a good handle on who your preferred cruise lines are for your agency. As an example, if you live in the greater Houston area, then Galveston cruises are probably your bread and butter. If you have analyzed your past sales, you can see which cruise lines you sell the most, and whether you sell anything that sails out of other ports. I’m land-bound being in Tennessee, so it’s not a simple case of focusing on Galveston-based cruise ships. I’ve looked at past sales over the last several years, and can easily identify the top three cruise lines that I sell the most. There is also one luxury cruise line I want to target and grow my business with.
Once you know who your preferred cruise lines are, then focus on those wave season promotions. File the others away in an inbox folder, and if you have the time (or have a request for one of those cruise lines) then you can skim the offers to see what’s available. At the end of wave season you can go in and delete all of those promotion emails you no longer need.
As a rule of thumb, let your clients know that the longer they wait, the less “rich” promotions will become as wave season rolls on. Nowadays it rarely pays to procrastinate. Yes, we can all point to one particular sailing that didn’t sell as well as the cruise line expected, and there is some kind of “fire sale” discount offered last minute. But that is not the norm across the board. When clients gamble that a cruise fare will drop closer in, they are disappointed more often than not. It’s our job as consultants to advise them of this, and to encourage them to take advantage of the best offers when they are available.
So, how do you handle the crush of wave season promotions? Share your hints and tips below.
Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel located in Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations, she focuses on travel for 18 to 23-year-olds. Susan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (888) 221-1209.