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INTERVIEW


Karst and Jimmy Murphy. Its foundations were trade. The company has grown exponentially over the past 15 years – and that is due to the travel trade. We rely on our travel agent partners to market and sell our product in the right way to the right people, which is not an easy task. It requires expertise. In return, their guests will have a wonderful holiday and they earn great commission and work with a cruise line that not only values their business, but also their partnership.


WHAT SUPPORT AND TOOLS DOES AMAWATERWAYS PROVIDE FOR THE TRADE?


We feel experiencing one of our river cruises is key. We offer so many amazing moments throughout each and every voyage that simply cannot be put in a brochure. It’s the anecdotal experiences that can easily close a sale for a travel agent and we are incredibly confident in our product to deliver these moments of magic. It’s for this reason that we offered every travel agent delegate who attended the Clia Cruise Convention the chance to sail with us. On a day-to-day basis, our sales managers offer training alongside sales and marketing support. Our travel agent portal features our latest news, offers, downloadable and editable marketing pieces, and our online booking system, where agents can check live availability and hold options. Finally we have our agent reward scheme, so we offer support from the beginning to the end of the sales process.


HOWWOULD YOU DESCRIBE A TYPICAL AMAWATERWAYS CUSTOMER?


We were the first river cruise line to introduce onboard bikes for guests to go ashore and explore. Since their introduction, we have also added biking


shore excursions, hiking and a Concierge Golf Programme on the Rhine and Danube, as part of our Active Discovery Programme. This attracts younger guests, 45-plus, rather than the more traditional older guest found on a river cruise. With our Chef’s Table alternative dining experience and relationship with La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, not to mention our wine- themed cruises, our guests love the food and wine. Overall, those that sail with us are well travelled and discerning, but also want a relaxed environment to discover their chosen destination.


WHAT TIPS CAN YOU GIVE FOR SELLING LUXURY RIVER CRUISING?


There are lots of river cruise lines and it would seem as though most are pushing a luxury message, whether that be the case or not. Therefore, it’s crucial you understand your product to ensure you know which clients are suitable for which product. It’s important that you take any opportunity you can to travel on a river cruise. It’s also important that you cast a wider net than those who have taken a river or ocean cruise before. Those clients who have toured are often a great target, as are luxury buyers looking for a more in-depth cultural experience.


TOP: A wine-themed cruise ABOVE: A bike excursion


WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR RIVER CRUISING?


These are exciting times. River cruising is becoming more of a mainstream holiday choice, which means growth for the sector. For AmaWaterways, the future is even more innovation, with AmaMagna, our double width-vessel, which will sail the Danube in 2019. It will have staterooms averaging more than 300sq ft, huge public areas, multiple dining venues and a water sports platform.


aspire september 2017 — 79


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