MSC Cruises is introducing onboard credit and free all-inclusive options across its winter 2015/16 itineraries to give agents more chance of selling higher-margin cruises.
The promotion – which starts on 1 May and will run for four months – is designed to help the trade upsell both short-haul and long-haul winter-sun sailings by adding in great-value extras.
MSC Cruises executive director UK and Ireland Giles Hawke said: “It’s very easy for cruise lines and retailers to fall into a cycle of selling cheaper cruises in the latest market for very little benefit.
“Of course, cruise lines need help selling certain sailings, and as we get closer to summer there is bound to be distressed stock about. But having a real partnership means ensuring that both we and our retailers can sell holidays at their true value and do so in a sustainable manner.
“It also means offering early value to customers who are looking further ahead to book their holidays. With Christmas, New Year, February half term and even Easter included in these deals and itineraries, there is a great opportunity for agents to promote the value of early booking with MSC Cruises to their winter-sun customers.
“By adding onboard credit or all-inclusive packages agents can demonstrate they are giving clients a real deal, talk about the product itself and the added value rather than sell it as a commodity, and have more opportunities to sell higher cabin grades and experiences. We are committed to ensuring our trade partners get the remuneration their effort deserves.”
The winter 2015/16 promotion applies to cruise-only and fly-cruise itineraries, and consists of:
Short-haul: FREE all-inclusive ‘Allegrissimo’ drinks package, worth £22 per person per night on Mediterranean [MSC Fantasia and MSC Preziosa for the whole winter and MSC Splendida Oct/Nov 2015] and Canary Islands [MSC Opera] sailings. Applies to inside, outside and balcony cabins in Bella and fantastica experiences.
Long-haul: FREE onboard credit on Emirates via Dubai or Abu Dhabi [MSC Musica]; Caribbean [MSC Divina] and Southern Caribbean [MSC Musica] sailings. OBC dependent on cabin type booked – £50pp on insides; £100pp on outsides; £150pp on balconies; and £250pp on suites and MSC Yacht Club. Benefit is applicable to first two passengers in cabin.
In response to agent feedback, MSC Cruises has increased the regional flight offering on its Canary Islands fly-cruise programme for winter 2015/16. In addition to its traditional Gran Canaria embarkation, served by British Airways flights from Gatwick on a Saturday, the cruise line will also offer Tenerife embarkation on a Friday using Thomas Cook flights from Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Newcastle and Glasgow.