Q&A with Justin Stanton, sales and marketing director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Q&A with Justin Stanton, sales and marketing director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

What does your role include and how long have you held it?

I have worked at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines for over a decade now and I have had a variety of jobs with the company in that time.

I was fortunate enough to be promoted to sales and marketing director in January and my primary responsibility now is to ensure that the sales, marketing and PR teams communicate the benefits and value of cruising on Fred. Olsen’s fleet of four smaller, more intimate ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch – as widely as possible.

We want to ensure that both potential guests and our travel agent partners know why we are different from other cruise lines, through our focus on smaller ship cruising with itineraries reaching eliciting and hard-to-reach destinations worldwide.

It is all wrapped up in our strapline, bringing the world closer!

 

What are the recent updates and plans for the next 12 months?

We constantly review our product and look for ways to give our customers more variety, more choice and new experiences.

We are well known for operating cruises from ports around the UK; however, this year we have introduced more fly-cruises, to give guests even more opportunities to discover the world Fred. Olsen style.

Add to this the launch of our new European river cruise programme– with the first sailings in April 2018 – and we are in exciting times.

In addition to this, we have a refurbishment programme for our fleet of four. This will be completed by spring 2018, by which time all the ocean ships will have been updated and improved.

 

What type of customer does Fred. Olsen suit? Briefly explain the product.

We tend to attract a more experienced, mature traveller, who appreciates the care and attention we put into our cruises.

A key element is the itineraries we operate. We are fortunate to have a very talented planning team who spend many months creating new and innovative cruises every year and ensuring guests will get the very best out of their time on shore. After all, visiting new places is what a holiday is all about.

Life on board is also important, of course. We avoid gimmicks like zip-wires, climbing walls and celebrity chefs. We pride ourselves in a grown-up, personal approach, with friendly, attentive crews that ensure our guests enjoy a relaxing holiday from the moment they step on board.

 

How do you work with the travel trade?

From the very start of the business, many years ago now, agents have always been key to our success. While many things have changed over the decades, that still remains true today. We know the importance of our travel trade partners, who are invaluable in promoting our product to customers.

“We strive to keep all our agents up-to-date with our campaigns and we try to get as many as possible on board our ships so that people can experience things for themselves – there’s no better way to find out what we are like.

We have always been close to the travel trade – and this year we have done more than ever before. So, in addition to our ship visits, we are running lots of competitions, events and incentives.

For instance, this summer we launched ‘Plane Sailing’, our biggest-ever trade competition, designed to give agents first-hand experience of one of our fantastic new fly-cruise programmes. There was a weekly prize draw, where one lucky travel agent could win a holiday of a lifetime – with four chances to win.

Add to this our fam. trips, such as our Indian Ocean Islands educational, and you’ll see that we are working closely alongside our agents to reward them for their hard work.

 

Why should agents sell a Fred. Olsen cruise?

Fred. Olsen offers a unique cruise experience, blending a welcoming, ‘home-from-home’ atmosphere across its fleet, with innovative itineraries and an unrivalled choice of destinations – many of which the larger vessels cannot reach.

We pride ourselves on our more personal approach to cruising, with friendly, attentive staff, award-winning cuisine and a superb choice of activities and entertainment; all underpinned by Fred. Olsen’s destination experiences – the highlight of any holiday!

We work closely with our travel trade partners and want to do as much as we can to support those who sell our unique style of cruising.

We’re a small, family-run business, not a big corporation, so we can be flexible, aiming to support those who sell us as much as we can.

 

Jill Sayles
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Jill Sayles
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