Shipsahoy chats with Beverley Vickers about the best ways to sell Regent cruises
A leader in the luxury market, Regent Seven Seas Cruises knows a thing or two about what it takes to not only impress customers, but also keep them coming back for more. We chat with Beverley Vickers, Director of Sales & Marketing, Eastern Canada, about the best ways to sell Regent cruises, how to up-sell luxury to clients and what to expect from the cruise line in 2017.
Your full name and official title. Director of Sales & Marketing, Eastern Canada, Regent Seven Seas Cruises
1. What do you want Canadian travel agents to know about the company so that they, in turn, can better sell it to clients?
We offer THE most totally inclusive experience at a six-star level on intimate ships of only 490–750 guests that travel around the world offering a choice of amazing itineraries. It’s the best value at sea today!
2. What up-selling tips can you provide agents so that they can maximize their earnings?
Tip #1: Focus on selling value vs. price.
Listen to your clients – what are they saying to you when they return from their vacations/cruises? Are they saying that they find ships are getting too big and that the service/food isn’t what it used to be? Are they saying they miss the days when ships were more intimate and they didn’t get a big bill at the end of their cruise? These comments from clients who are travelling in balconies/mini suites & above tell you that they are ready for a suggestion to find a new cruise experience – they may not know about Regent or they may think that the word “luxury” is synonymous with “expensive” so they are afraid to ask about it. Agents should offer Regent and explain how the intimate size/spaciousness/high service levels and, most of all, the inclusive nature can give them what they are looking for.
Tip #2: Use our value comparison charts to show how they may have already been spending what they would on Regent but not paying it all up front so they don’t actually realize it!
Have them show you their onboard bills from previous cruises so you can explain the value. Order hard copies from www.rssc.com’s brochure section and keep them on your desk to provoke discussion and remind you to think about Regent on a daily basis! Click here to download the soft copy in PDF format.
Tip #3: Offer it anyway. People don’t ask for what they don’t know about!
If a client is celebrating a special birthday/anniversary/retirement (55 years old plus typically), they are looking for a memorable and special experience and will usually spend more to mark the occasion. Don’t be afraid to offer it – if they don’t buy it’s ok. You sell them on their other choice but at least you have planted the seed for future!
Once the client buys into the upfront value proposition, the commission follows. Regent pays commission on almost the entire package – gratuities, excursions, specialty dining, transfers, drinks – all commissionable! Our average commission paid last year to agents was US$3,030 per booking and it can go much higher than this.
3. What are the top 3 luxury amenities onboard RSSC ships that you think will close the sale for agents?
There are a few things to talk about that help close the sale, and it’s not just onboard amenities. For the first time guest of Regent, it’s usually the size of the ship and the all-inclusive nature. There’s no “nickel & diming”.
What also attracts them is definitely the fact that the shore excursions are included along with the air ticket (business class included in all categories for all intercontinental flights!).
Potential clients get the value of these two inclusions in particular. Size of the suites is another selling point – 356 square feet minimum on several of our ships. The walk-in closets and the award-winning bathrooms are also a huge hit!
Having premium wines/spirits and non-alcoholic beverages included is another bonus. Not having to sign for things is a real hit and getting such high quality is a plus.
4. What new trends are you seeing in the luxury cruise market?
Continuing to see the importance of an all-inclusive experience. We are always looking for new ways to add inclusions to our program, hence the new all-included business class option on intercontinental itineraries.
Most luxury clients don’t want to travel in economy when flying more than five hours. Luxury clients also are looking for elevated gastronomic experiences and cultural enrichment onboard. This continues to be a major focus for us as we develop our onboard dining and enrichment programs.
Enhanced pre/post land programs are also important so the guests can lengthen their vacation stays and experience countries in depth. With this in mind, we have developed a series of free land pre/post extensions in places such as Beijing, Bangkok, Singapore, Sydney, Bali, Auckland, Lisbon and Capetown that meet this high interest. These packages are valued up to approximately $2,000 per person and are available at no additional charge – again, another extraordinary value.
5. What’s new for RSSC in 2017?
This year marks our 25th anniversary in business so we are very excited to appreciate all the clients and agents who have supported us over the 25 years. 25 sailings have been designated with special onboard experiences for our guests, and our agent partners can earn $250 in gift cards if they book one of these voyages before April 28 (must register booking on www.rssc.com/anniversary by May 14 to qualify).
The new business class inclusions are being phased in this year so this is very exciting! We are also selling our first full year of Seven Seas Explorer itineraries; the world’s most luxurious cruise ship has taken the industry by storm so it’s great to have a full 12 months of itineraries to promote on her.
Refurbishments have been completed on Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Navigator so clients are very excited to sail on these two vessels this year. We opened itineraries earlier than ever this year – agent partners can now sell into spring 2019. Even the world cruises in 2018/19 are now available to sell and market.
For our agent partners, we have also revamped our online university program for agent partners with a new module being added as we speak. Agents should take the approximate 90 minutes to become a Regent Expert. It will help them sell value vs. price for sure!
For more information visit rssc.com