Why 70% of Cruise Travelers Book With a Travel Agent
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reported in its 2015 State of the Cruise Industry Report that 70% of river and ocean cruise travelers book their cruises with a travel agent.
Does that surprise you?
It did me. But now that we are travel agency owners, we understand, and here’s a few reasons why that is the case.
Top 6 Reasons Cruise Travelers Book With A Travel Agent
- Same Price – contrary to popular belief, the price for an ocean or river cruise is exactly the same whether you book it yourself or through a travel agency. So, that begs the question: why do it yourself?
- Unadvertised Private Sales – because the cruise industry knows that 70% of its bookings are coming through travel agencies, the quickest and least expensive way for them to offer specials to fill their inventories is to use the travel agency channel. As travel agency owners, we see a fairly regular stream of unadvertised private sales. Just this morning, we helped four couples traveling together score a remarkable last-minute river cruise offering that saved them 50% off the normal pricing. Needless to say, they’re all tickled pink!
- Consortium Clout – many travel agencies belong to a travel consortium that gives them buying power clout. For example, our travel agency is a member of the Virtuoso Travel Network. Because of our membership in a travel consortium, this makes our agency a part of a $12 billion network of travel agencies, and therefore gives us buying power to pass along to our clients. Our buying power translates into special shipboard credits, private sales, and exclusive cruise societies. Our cruise society is called the Virtuoso Voyager Club. When our clients book with us, they enjoy an exclusive shipboard cocktail party, an on-board Virtuoso host, a private Virtuoso shore excursion, a private car and driver in some ports, and more. And again, all for the same price as you would get booking it yourself online! It really makes no sense for you to book a cruise yourself. It really is costing you money, and you’re missing out on complimentary VIP perks.
- Knowledge & Collaboration – a professional travel advisor will avail themselves to industry training that makes them knowledgeable about the various cruise lines and how they might compare with one another. Further, the travel industry provides significant destination training to allow travel advisors to confidently make recommendations about where to travel. Further still, a good travel advisor is also a frequent traveler. This on-site experience is invaluable in helping travelers make the best destination and cruise line decisions.
- You’re Not Alone – while its unlikely that you’ll encounter a problem with today’s cruise lines, having a travel agency behind you as an advocate proves invaluable for those times that problems do occur.
- Time Savings – the plethora of choices for ocean and river cruises can seem completely overwhelming. A professional travel advisor will seek to understand your travel style, your preferred investment, and many times can offer suggestions that you are simply didn’t know existed. Having a professional travel advisor in your corner will save you countless hours of research and take a lot of the worry out of the process.
As you can see, booking a cruise on your own can actually be a detriment, and will likely cost you money. Our advice? Have a professional travel advisor in your corner. You’ll quickly learn how invaluable they can be.
Are you thinking about an ocean or river cruise? Give Carol or myself a call at (480) 550-1235. There’s no obligation to talk about our services, and we’d honor the opportunity to earn your trust, bring you valuable perks, and have the opportunity to have you as one of our clients.
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