Generation Y will need agents more than current ‘older’ clients.
That was the interesting argument put forward by Andy Harmer, vice president of operations at Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), speaking at this week’s The Global Travel Group (TGTG) at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai (23-25 May).
“The next-generation of holidaymakers – Millennials – are likely to be the most affluent travellers and will use agents more than the previous older generation, because they need advice. They need experts,” he told delegates.
Agents therefore needed to invest in training and knowledge, he said.
“But it’s not just a case of having that knowledge; it’s how to use it in a way that your competitors don’t,” Harmer added.
Agents must therefore “keep up to date with changes”, he said.
“And network with other agents – learning from one another is very important, which is why this Global conference has been such as success.”
For agents selling cruise, training is essential given the rapid growth and evolution of the sector and its products.
“Every new ship launched has a new innovation,” Harmer continued. “This year, 27 new ships will be launched around the world. At the same time, current fleets are being refurbished with new dining, entertainment and experiences being added – it’s a whole new way of having a cruise holiday.”
CLIA Learning Academy offers more than 100 modules, offering a broad range of knowledge, from cruise sales techniques to destination training.
“We can help you sell the right product to the right customer – and it will make sure they come back for more,” Harmer told Global agents.
“Last year alone 600,000 people took their first cruise holiday and that’s thanks to people like you, the travel agents.”