Cruise Holidays continues "measured" expansion

Cruise Holidays continues "measured" expansion
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Cruise Holidays has reported a spike in interest in joining its network, as it confirmed the signing of its latest fully branded store.

Cruise Holidays Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast will be operated by Darryl Laing who has operated a store in that location for more than 30 years.

Managing director Les Farrar welcomed the new addition, which takes the fledgling network to 15 – split between home-based agents, affiliates and the fully branded stores in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and now the Sunshine Coast.

“The Sunshine Coast is a great source of cruise passengers,” he said. “We are now actively seeking suitable partners in Sydney and further announcements of new members will be forthcoming very soon.”

But although Cruise Holidays is actively “on the prowl” for additional home-based and affiliate agents to join its network, Farrar insisted it will not be a rushed expansion.

“Part of the reason for that is that we want to do it properly – Cruise Holidays has been going in the US for 28 years so there’s no need to rush things,” he told Travel Today. “If we rush things, we risk not properly rolling out the programs that we’re promising.”

In addition, the 60-day duration of the training program offered to new recruits makes it difficult to take on more than two at a time.

Instead, the expansion will progress in a “measured” manner with its targets “reasonably conservative”.

But Farrar revealed that, although interest is building, confusion over the nature of the network is proving something of an obstacle. The main issue lies in the fact that, unlike other cruise specialists in the local market, Cruise Holidays is not a wholesaler.

“What we’re offering is a marketing and technology solution,” Farrar explained. Affiliates are offered a personalised website, a branded email newsletter sent out each week on their behalf and direct, targeted mail pieces in exchange for a monthly fee.

“We’re still packaging the product together, but they’re booking through their normal suppliers.”

Home-based agents will use Cruise Holidays’ own channels to make bookings, he added.

“So our challenge is to build that understanding of what we‘re about – even experienced people in the industry don’t quite understand that we’re not a wholesaler.”

But he is confident the recent appointment of Don Clark to the role of business development director will address any misunderstandings.

“Don lends a lot of experience to the organisation and will be heavily involved in training, coaching and business development,” Farrar said.

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