ShipsAhoy sat down with Patterson to discuss new company developments, agent incentives and personal experiences
By: Ilona Kauremszky
As a kid growing up Ian Patterson, Director of Business Development in Canada with MSC Cruises, used to anxiously wait for those family road trips his dad used to organize. These days, the travel professional, finds his favourite trips have been organizing his own family vacay.
“Taking my family to Ireland and trying to combine all the road trips my dad took me on growing up,” he says fondly recalling his favourite trips.
ShipsAhoy sat down with Patterson to discuss new company developments, agent incentives and personal experiences.
What’s new with the MSC brand?
Last year we had tremendous growth with the introduction of MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside, and MSC Cruises has no plans to slow down. The MSC Seaview which is the second of the Seaside class of ships was introduced in June 2018. We’re expanding the prototype with two new Seaside EVO ships. Lastly, MSC Cruises’ World Class is sure to be a game-changer. It will be some of the largest ships in the industry. The first one debuts in 2022.
How important are ongoing agent incentives and education moving forward for MSC?
We are committed to forging strong relationships with our travel agent partners, and being the easiest and most profitable brand to work with. Agents stand to gain from 5% commission on all pre-booked items so they have plenty of opportunity to grow their business.
In addition to incentives, we are consistently developing new methods and tools to help effectively educate our partners. Last year we launched MSC Academy, our learning module to help agents successfully sell the MSC Cruises brand and increase their earning potential. We’re happy to report that Canadian travel agents have signed up in droves….so thank you very much for that!!
What are some of the unique MSC brand features?
We’re inspired by our deep Mediterranean heritage, and boast some of the most beautiful ships in the world with our attention to detail. A primary example is on board MSC Seaside which launched in December 2017. The ship’s revolutionary “beach condo” architecture is truly a first for the industry. Another stand-out feature on board our newest ships is the innovative MSC Yacht Club. We find that our guests appreciate having a private, luxurious escape, but do not necessarily want to forego the amenities of a mega ship, as you would with a strictly luxury cruise line. The benefit of the MSC Yacht Club is that guests can enjoy the exclusivity and privacy of our well-appointed accommodations, while also benefiting from the choices and features only available on a larger ship.
What’s been your most embarrassing moment on a trip?
Waking up in the dark…..late for a flight for a day of meetings out of town. I figured out going through security I had one brown and one black shoe…question is….Did I GO buy a new pair of shoes that morning???
What’s one quirk travel agents don’t know about you?
If playing golf on Sunday, I always wear green.
What is one of your pet peeves?
Tardiness….I was brought up that if you’re on time, you’re ten minutes late.
What would you like to see happen within the cruise industry?
Having more people convert to being cruisers; all brands are building great new ships and we are waiting for them!