Selling cruise value is key
In the selling skills module of the Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course, I spend a good bit of time discussing how to establish value as a way to overcome concerns about price. In the How To Book Cruises chapter, I discuss how price comparisons can be used to build a compelling case for cruise value.
An excellent brochure directed at travel agents, which I received recently from Regent Seven Seas, underlines the importance and power of both these points.
Regent of course is a luxury line with a well-deserved reputation in that niche. The downside of that reputation is that travel agents often fail to even consider Regent when making recommendations to clients they think might not quite be in the luxury range in terms of their cruise budget. For their part, clients can take one look at Regent’s prices and gasp.
Obviously I can’t know what’s in the minds of Regent’s marketing people, but I suspect this brochure is an attempt to combat that kind of thinking.
What the Regent brochure does – and does quite brilliantly, I think – is use charts to prepare side by side comparisons of various Regent cruises (in the Med, Northern Europe, and Alaska) with cruise lines usually considered to be in the “premium” category, just a notch below “luxury.”
Because Regent uses more of an all-inclusive pricing model than its competitors (air, shore excursions and wine are just a few of the things included in the cruise price), the comparison is an eye opener. It turns out that, when all the little “extras” are taken into account, the Regent cruise is often less expensive on a per-day basis than the competition and if it costs more the difference is not all that much.
Regent seals the deal for travel agents by a smaller chart that shows the commission difference. In some cases, the travel agent can make double the commission by recommending an arguably superior “luxury” cruise experience that costs about the same as a “premium” one.
Doing this sort of in-depth cost comparison is something I recommend in the course, but as cruise lines start to mimic the airlines’ penchant for unbundling, I wonder how many of us take the time (and make no mistake, it can be a time-consuming and frustrating task) to do this sort of due diligence.
So the Regent brochure is a great convenience and a terrific object lesson for all of us. If you didn’t get it, I suggest you contact your Regent BDM and request a copy. Ask for the brochure with the headline “The Most Inclusive Luxury Cruise Experience.”
If you have it, I suggest you use its charts as a model to do similar cost comparison studies in your market and in your specialties, whatever they may be. The results could be very enlightening.
For more tips on selling cruise value, consult The Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course.