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and marketing to their clients, which includes making calls to them before and after their cruise. Agents also have to pass the


The cruise.co.uk team Agents regularly take part in


educationals and ship visits to improve their product knowledge, and write a review and provide photos when they return. Iglu also has a concierge team that deals with any pre-departure questions and requests, as well as offering a welcome home service. The agency holds a series of client


events every year featuring guest speakers, with the aim of dispelling myths about cruising for Iglu’s younger client profile. Satisfaction rates, as measured by


Feefo reviews, are high at 97-98%, while its repeat business is more than 50% and overall sales have grown by 20% year-on-year.


.PLANET CRUISE


While Planet uses many of the same back-office systems and functions as its sister brand Iglu, there are important differences between the two brands, Simone tells the judges. Planet is located in its own


separate office in Portsmouth with 80 staff. It is also more focused on booking tailormade cruise holidays for its customers who spend around £200 more per trip on average and also tend to book earlier. Being so close to Southampton is also a bonus and has enabled Planet to invite in leading figures from the cruise industry such as Azamara’s Larry Pimentel and patisserie chef Eric Lanlard from P&O’s Britannia to talk to staff and take part in promotional activities. Television is a big


The Iglu Cruise team


marketing tool for Planet Cruise with a show broadcast every Tuesday as well as a YouTube channel that also has a 10-


minute weekly show. The office even has its own TV studio. Other initiatives include a focus on


Formula One motor racing including the production of a brochure. Planet offers the same training


scheme to staff and concierge service to customers as Iglu.


.CRUISE.CO.UK


This online cruise specialist uses a homeworking model rather than a call centre, explains commercial and product director Tony Andrews. There are currently around 150


homeworkers working for the brand with another 60 staff based at its headquarters in Redditch. “We really market through the consultants – homeworkers are the brand and we


push them to run it as their own business,” says Tony. It’s up to the


homeworkers to maintain relationships


“There are lots of awards suppliers or cruise lines so it’s great to see


cruise agents


recognised in this way in the TTG Top 50. While all the finalists in our


category were very different, what did stand out was the outstanding levels of customer service displayed by them all. Some had put a huge amount of effort into developing their staff through great training schemes, and others had very innovative marketing ideas, but above all it was the way that these agencies put their customers at the forefront of everything they do that made them stand out. This year is an exciting one for


Saga Cruises. We will host 450 agents for dinner and an overnight stay onboard the Saga Sapphire on May 19 in Dover, when we will also share news of our new ship which launches in 2019!”


appropriate Clia training modules to qualify to handle calls relating to specific cruise lines. But once the booking is made, the homeworker then keeps that client for future enquiries. Cruise.co.uk has created its own “Rate My Service” function enabling customers to give feedback on their consultant’s performance. As for attracting new customers,


cruise.co.uk takes the view that “content is king” and the site is packed with guides and information. The strategy is clearly working, with a repeat rate of 65% and turnover rising by 19% in 2016.


DEBORAH SAYS…


The Planet Cruise team TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES 2017 SHORTLIST 33


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