Hate to state the obvious but Aussie travellers are LOVING cruise at the moment.
With one in 19 Aussies choosing cruise, Australia has the highest market penetration in the world.
If CLIA’s most recent Australian Crusie Industry Source Market Report is anything to go by, agents would be mad not to get on board with this worry-free, all-in-one holiday.
To find out more about the best way to sell cruise based holidays, and see what’s in store for the industry, we had a chat with Brett Dudley, the founder and chairman of Ecruising.
Having just celebrated their 18th year in business, the cruise based holiday booking site is a one-stop-shop for people looking for a cruise holiday.
“We specialise in packages, flights, accommodation, transfers and of course, a cruise,” Dudley said.
“We do everything from start to finish.”
Dudley is also the founder and chairman of Latitude 33, which he started to meet the demand for high end, all-inclusive experiences in exotic places.
“Of course we include cruises in some of our tours, for instance, we’ve chartered True North for an exclusive 13 night holiday to one of the most remote places in the world. The tour is in November next year, it’s 50 per cent sold out but a great opportunity for agents to make easy money,” he said.
According to Dudley, it’s crucial that agents educate themselves at risk of selling the wrong cruise to the wrong person.
“I recently met a couple that lived on the harbour and always wanted to go on one of the ships they saw coming into the harbour,” he said.
“Their agent booked them on what they thought was the right ship, the customers boarded the ship, after 2 hours they walked off, disembarked and went home, they lost over $8,000.00 in the process and said they’d never go on another cruise!
“Hopefully I’ve convinced them otherwise but agents need to qualify their clients, ask them if they fly first, business or economy, you can then put them on the right ship otherwise they’ll not enjoy their experience.”
He told us that it boils down to familiarisation.
“Do the training, familiarise yourself with the different cruise lines and ships, it’s an easy sell, unpack once, sit back and relax, it’s an all-inclusive holiday. Agents can always call us, we sell to agents and our experienced team will ensure their clients are booked on the right ship.”
When asked what kind of trends agents should be looking out for, Dudley said expedition cruising is taking off in a big way.
“Cruise lines are building new ships to meet the demand. Deep down, we are all adventurers and want to explore remote parts of the world in luxury
“Silversea just celebrated their 10th year in expedition cruising and boast being the most luxurious expedition cruise line. I attended Silversea’s 10th anniversary which was held on the revitalised Silver Cloud.
“It has all the things you need for an expedition, ice class hull, zodiacs, mud room, an experienced team of expedition leaders and of course, the luxury to come back to after your adventure.”
Despite its tremendous growth, the Australian cruise industry is facing some major challenges right now. That’s right, we’re talking about the elephant in the room: berthing problems.
“Sydney could be one of the biggest cruising hubs in the world if they could only come to an agreement with the Navy and Garden Island, there’s plenty of room there for the Navy and the industry,” Dudley told us.
“Gold Coast also had a great opportunity to provide 10,000 jobs and a world-class terminal facility but the current government were too scared to make the commitment, the decision has been postponed for another year.”