Travel Daily catches up with Neil Barclay, head of sales at Viking Cruises UK.
What does your role include and how long have you held it?
I’ve been head of sales for eight years, overseeing sales, call centre and guest service functions.
What are the recent updates and plans for the next 12 months?
We now have a fleet of four ocean ships launched since 2015 and our destination range continues to expand. Next year we will welcome a further ocean ship to the fleet.
Our river business continues to thrive with the launch of river/ocean combo cruises, Egypt and the return of our Ukraine itineraries.
What type of customer does Viking suit, briefly explain the product?
Viking Cruises suits a guest who is looking for a destination-focused cruise, to explore the world in comfort. With Viking’s inclusive value offering guests get great value for money, including all meals, wine and beer with lunch and dinner, daily included tour, free wi-fi, stylish staterooms with a view and genuinely warm service.
The Scandinavian design is reflected across the fleet of ships and to a very high standard. The company has more than 65 river ships in the fleet and four ocean ships with more to come.
How do you work with the travel trade?
We work very closely with the trade including regular training opportunities, which are carried out by our sales execs; we have a dedicated trade website www.madefortrade.co.uk where agents can keep up to date with the latest Viking news, enter competitions to win fam trips and learn more about the products and itineraries.
In addition, we also invite agents to visit the ship when it’s in the UK.
We produce a quarterly magazine called Hei which helps agents develop their product knowledge, learn about Viking’s latest news and updates in an engaging and fun way. Hei includes destination reviews and new itineraries as well.
Why should agents sell a Viking cruise?
We work closely with agents developing training, offering marketing support to help increase their sales, and with more opportunities to sell on ocean and river an earn excellent commission.