Andy Harmer – ACE Director – Diversity of products on offer makes agents ever more important
CRUISING’S UNIVERSAL APPEAL
It was wonderful to see the Cunard photo last week of President Bush and wife Barbara on-board Queen Mary 2 as they fulfilled their ambition of a transatlantic crossing. It underlines the fact that cruising has a wonderful sense of glamour and excitement that few land-based holidays can match. It also underlines the fact that cruising has an appeal that transcends age, nationality, interests and gender… there really is a cruise for everyone.
At the Cruise Convention in Southampton we explored many of the different sectors within cruising just to highlight the diversity of cruise product available; indeed we are blessed in this country to have a range and breadth of cruise product that has such universal appeal. From small river ships in Europe to expedition ships in Antarctica; from family resort style ships in the Med to ex-UK cruising to the Canaries; and from ultra-luxury small ships in Alaska to round UK cruising in the sunshine.
And this diversity of product makes travel agents even more important because it becomes difficult for non-cruisers to choose the right ship, itinerary and cruise line on their own because they have no knowledge of what any of the available cruise experiences is going to be like.
So our knowledge, understanding, expertise and first-hand knowledge of the cruise experience becomes invaluable. It is the explanation of this and the different cruises that are available that will ensure that customers continue to book through travel agents. In the 25 years since ACE was formed much has changed in life, but the need to communicate clearly and passionately about the whole cruise experience has not altered at all.
We just need to Think Differently about how we communicate that message. I am sure the President agrees.