Hoffmann: How to avoid missing the boat

Hoffmann: How to avoid missing the boat
By admin

The internet can never replace the traditional travel agent when it comes to sales of cruise product so long as they approach the sector properly, according to South Australia-based retailer Phil Hoffmann.

Speaking at the Carnival Partnership Summit on board Pacific Pearl at the weekend, Hoffmann underlined the benefits of booking cruise with an agent.

“People still want to talk to people,” he insisted. “You’ve got to know the right ship for the right person, and the right person for the right ship because that’s when they’ll get maximum satisfaction and that’s when they’ll become a repeat client – that’s the most valuable type of client.”

He referred to the substantial growth rates seen within the sector over recent years and declared that if agents selling cruise aren’t growing at the same rate then they aren't “putting the effort in” and risk "missing the boat".

 “I’m not saying online can’t work – it can,” he added. “But we’ve built our business on face to face.”

Ensuring a “high touch” approach is vital to deliver sales, as is the implementation of a structured and ambitious and consistent business plan. As an example, Hoffmann referred to pre and post-cruising events regularly held for its customers.

“We’re going to work at touching that client more and more,” he said.

Technology in fact plays an important role in that strategy, with the frequent use of e-blasts and development of an extensive database viewed as "powerful tools".

Meanwhile, Hoffmann urged agents to complete the online training schemes on offer and use Polar Online, with extensive knowledge of the product on offer vital to clinching the sale.

“Travel agents will always be the epicentre of cruise sales,” he said. “I don’t think we will ever be replaced if we work hard enough.”

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