Selling Incentive Cruises | Travel Research Online


Selling Incentive Cruises

Over the next week or two the phone calls will hopefully slow down to a trickle. During that time travel agents and clients alike will make their way over the hills and through the woods to celebrate the holidays with family. Possibly your clients will be talking to their families about their 2018 travel plans, possibly coaxing family members to join them. But what will you be doing during this down time?

While the phones are quiet, after everyone has opened their gifts and gorged themselves on turkey (or prime rib in our household), this will be a great time to work on some last minute marketing strategies for the upcoming wave season. We started talking about wave season and its early start last month (link to: But that wasn’t the be all, end all of wave season marketing ideas.

Even if you only work on leisure travel, and stay far away from business travel, consider marketing to business and corporations to sell them leisure travel as well. Yes, you can arrange to be exposed to their employees for their vacation bookings (set up a table in the company cafeteria once a month; change up what you promote each month). However, don’t let it start there. Ask if they do (or would consider doing) travel as an incentive for employees or clients.

I started making calls already, planting the seeds so that I could follow up in January. As a result, I just sold three individual cruise certificates to a home builder in the area. They have three employees that won an internal sales competition, and they were trying to figure out how to give them each a three night cruise. With little work, I sold them three 3 to 4 night cruise certificates.
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Ideally, a company should have their incentives planned in advance; knowing what the incentive will be and how they’ll fulfill it. That’s why you should start reaching out to businesses now. They’re already well into planning their 2018 marketing plans, budgets, and potential incentives. You can help them with the pricing for various cruise options, so they know exactly how much they’re spending on each winner.

If you really hit the jackpot, you might find a company that would like to go past the individual incentive, and they’d like help with planning an incentive cruise for a group of employees (or clients). If you aren’t familiar with incentive groups and how they work (because it’s different than your standard leisure group), reach out to your BDM(s) at your favorite cruise line(s). Your BDM would be more than happy to help you strategize to increase your incentive groups and individual reward sales.

Business incentive sales can be very lucrative, even if you never book business travel.  Start making your list and checking it twice, because this is the season for planning your marketing strategies for 2018!

Susan SchaeferSusan 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 or by phone at (888) 221-1209.

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