new training to help agents identify and market to luxury clients. P&O Cruises will be adding an online training module to the P&O Academy to go with its Middle East itineraries launching in 2019.

Pool marketing resources Cruise lines do not have an open chequebook, but they are able and willing to work with the trade on joint marketing campaigns if agents can prove they have a sound business strategy. The amount they are prepared to spend varies depending on where the campaign is being held, who it is targeting and the expected returns, but if all parties have done their homework, this can be a classic win-win situation.

The Cruise Village managing director Phil Nuttall says ocean and river cruise lines are interested in joint marketing campaigns. Generally, he will go to them with an idea, but occasionally, they approach him. “It’s important to have a

clear strategy of who you want to target,” he says. “An untapped market always makes cruise lines very happy. Funding is usually 50:50. Campaigns vary enormously. They might be online, or in a newspaper or magazine. They might be for a one-off cruise or last a month or six months.”

Make the most of Clia It’s hard to imagine a trade organisation that works more tirelessly on behalf of

its members than Clia. When the team is not organising conferences, ship visits and workshops, it is dreaming up tools to help agents sell more cruises. The website is full of fact sheets about ports, onboard product and destination guides, and is regularly updated with sales tips. Most recently, Clia has

partnered with travel technology firm Zolv to create Full Picture, a sales tool that enables agents to send photos and videos to clients’ computers. The technology is said to convert calls into bookings at a rate 30% higher than normal, and with a sales value up to 22% higher. Clia has also recently added four modules to its Oceans of Opportunity

training programme that teaches agents how to expand their cruise client base, while new river cruising and South Pacific modules introduce agents to less-well-known ports and destinations. Harmer says: “Clia is

responsible for bringing the industry together at dinners, roadshows and events that are non-competitive and showcase the sector.”

Get on the ships

Nothing beats going on a cruise to get a feel for the product, but spending a few hours on a ship while it is in port is the next best thing. Cruise & Maritime Voyages is running 28 ship visits this year, each for about 25 agents. Head of marketing Mike Hall says: “We are

May 2017| Travel Weekly Cruise | 31

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