People Making Waves / AmaWaterways’ Neil Dudley Shares Stories and Tips for Agents

ShipsAhoy spoke to Dudley about some of AmaWaterways latest developments including sales tips and personal views!

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By: Ilona  Kauremszky

When Neil Dudley of AmaWaterways embarked on one of his earliest river cruises during a sales trip once he had no idea what he was in for.

“I was on a Christmas cruise,” he starts recounting the experience that had this ace cruise rep in for a big surprise. “I thought okay I’ll buy all my Christmas gifts in Budapest and be set for the sales team.” 

What threw him off though were the unique markets on the 14-night voyage.  “I ended up buying a second set of luggage in Cologne,” he laughs. Now during presentations he explains every Christmas market is going to be different.

ShipsAhoy spoke to Dudley about some of AmaWaterways latest developments including sales tips and personal views. 

1. What’s new?
AmaMagna, the world’s largest river cruise ship ever built. It’s basically designed for cruisers who love those mega ships, giving them plenty to do on board.  There will be five different restaurants and bars, a full Olympic style rooftop pool, a fitness studio with a retractable roof including a water sports platform for canoes and kayaks. The expected launch date is May 2019.

2. Are there any incentives for agents?
We work closely with consortiums which provide exclusive offers and programs to help enhance commissions.

3. What sets your river cruises apart?
The company prides itself on food and customer service. Our culinary team, for instance, belongs to the prestigious Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, a Paris-based organization. The other differentiator, we have about 10 percent fewer guests on board our ships compared to other 5-star river cruise lines but we have the same number of staff.

4. Do you have any selling tips?
Don’t ever let a client walk away with a brochure thinking they will compare the prices to others; and, never take the price from the brochure. These printed prices are simply a guideline. 

5. Upselling, do you encourage it?
It’s great. If agents aren’t used to selling a luxury product I always say, ‘Don’t be afraid to offer up and then go down.’ If agents are used to selling based on price start from the top and work your way down. The client will guide them accordingly. 

6. What’s one quirk agents don’t know about you? 
When I don’t do a ton of shows, they might not know I’m as sporty as I am. I play softball and curl.

7. Describe your role.
I’m the Business Development Manager for Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, and have been with Ama for 6 months but before with Scenic for 13 years. 

8. What would you like to see happen in the cruise industry?
I’d like to see more shows like in the U.S. where the cruise lines are working together whether its ocean or river, trying to do joint shows. Some of us are starting to work jointly together to present a similar product to open this up to clients.

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