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particularly keen for agents who are new to working with us to experience our product. Our trade sales team follows up all visits to establish how agents might generate future bookings.” Royal Caribbean will host ship visits and training events for up to 1,200 agents when Navigator, Independence and Vision of the Seas call at UK ports this year. Ship visits to ports on the near continent are also offered. Last year, Holland America Line took 500 agents to Amsterdam to see new ship Koningsdam, and plans to take 130 this summer. UK managing director Lynn Narraway says: “Personal experience is key in having the confidence to sell a cruise. It helps agents


see the differences between brands, which, in turn, helps them to sell the right cruise to the right client.”


Reach out on social media Most cruise lines have embraced social media, but experts believe agents need to do more to get cruise in front of a wider audience. Digital Visitor managing director Anthony Rawlings says: “Social media is underused in travel. Companies need to be investing 20% of their marketing budget on it.” Princess Cruises invited


Instagram artist Rich McCormack aka Paperboyo to cruise on Royal Princess last year and post pictures embellished with black- paper cut-outs.


Princess vice-president UK and Europe Tony Roberts says: “We reached a million Instagram users with the fun and unique images. We saw lots of social media engagement from our agent partners and I hope they joined us in using this opportunity to reach new customers.”


Iglu Cruise managing


director Simone Clarke says: “We see social media as a fantastic tool to engage with customers. We use Facebook to share pictures of ship visits and the latest cruise news, and have a weekly YouTube show for new-to-cruise customers that tackles a different theme every week.” Ben Bouldin, Royal Caribbean’s associate


32 | Travel Weekly Cruise| May 2017


travelweekly.co.uk/cruise


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