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There is no doubt about it, the travel industry has been through a tough few years and this year is no different. From global economic problems and international terrorism through to the issues surrounding the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, these all can place pressures on travel agents and their margins. The cruise industry has remained buoyant however but the competition between agents has increased considerably, so what can you do as a travel agent to ensure you are one step ahead of your competitors? The key isn’t to be cheaper, it’s about being different and taking care of the details…

Working in the cruise and travel industry, I think sometimes some of us forget just how big a decision booking a cruise is for most people. Whether they are first time cruisers or more experienced travellers, the fact is that a cruise represents a significant financial investment from which they want to maximise their pleasure. Confronted with a plethora of agents all offering similar deals and offers it can be overwhelming for many people to choose just where to book their cruise.

Ask yourself: Why should they use your business?

Take the time and put yourself in the position of someone looking to book a cruise. Why should they choose to use YOU? You offer the best prices? Unbeatable customer service? You really look after your customers? These may very well all be true but to be brutally honest, these are the sort of statements that nearly all travel agents make. This means your potential customers will struggle to differentiate you from all of your rivals. The key therefore isn’t just to be better, it’s to be different.

Why be different?

Being different means that you stand out from your competitors instead of blending in with them. It gives you a strong and identifiable personal brand as an agent and makes you not just another travel agency but one that stands out and provides solutions.

Be the solution and look after the details

When someone comes to you to book a cruise, they are looking for your professional expertise to ensure that they get the best cruise for their budget. Unlike cheaper package holidays which may be booked solely on price by many people, a cruise is different and people will be just as interested on making the cruise the best it can be as well as issues such as price. That is where you can be different and really offer that personal touch. That means two things for you as an agent:

Think of things like how are they going to get to and from their cruise? Taking away the stresses and strains of making their own way to and from the port not only makes your customer’s holiday experience that little bit more memorable, it can also be a lucrative source of income as every booking with ourselves at Ports Direct earns a commission. As well as luxury port transfers, for the more budget conscious cruisers there is also a shared door-to-door option.

Looking after the finer details such as this doesn’t just make you more money, it sets you apart from the competition. You’re not just any travel agent selling cruise holidays. You are different. Book with you for a luxury cruise experience that starts from your front door…