Almost every agent in the UK can book sailings on Tradewind Voyages’ Golden Horizon ship, according to the line’s trade sales team.
Speaking on board the 272-passenger vessel (pictured) on Wednesday, head of trade sales Mark Schmitt and Rachel Healey, the line’s business development manager, also urged agents to snap up the remaining places on the ship visit programme, which runs from July 19 to August 14.
There are eight dates for agents to choose from across four UK ports.
Although 30 agents are scheduled to embark the world’s tallest ship, Golden Horizon, for a tour and an onboard lunch in Portsmouth, there is still availability in Dover, Harwich and Poole, the line confirmed.
In addition, the line has also launched a special rate for agents who can book one of the four sailings in July for half price.
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Schmitt said: “The trade is vitally important to us. The distribution model is built about the trade and 95% of sales will come from the trade.”
Since Tradewind launched its debut programme last year, Schmitt said that Tradewind had managed to sign up “virtually” every tour operator and consortia.
“Apart from Tui, every single travel agent has the ability to sell us,” he said.
Healey explained that this meant agents could either book directly through Tradewind or via a third-party, including tour operators such as Carrier, Sunvil Holidays or Abercrombie & Kent.
“It was important for us to have that fly-cruise and the tailor-made pre- and post- [option],” she said. “We recognised quite quickly that we need to be working with a number of different types of distributions. You can sell a cruise only, but you also need to be able to package. We looked at a strategy where we approached tour operators.”
Asked what kinds of agents have been the most engaged since the line’s launch, Schmitt said: “We cast the net extremely wide to start with. We have to accept that some agents were furlough, made redundant or their businesses had been mothballed to some extent.
“There’s one particular agent who has taken me a year to sign up but they’re on board now. The big guys were very quick off the mark.”
Healey added: “The big OTA cruise specialists were very quick to have that conversation. Again the agency changed their consortia and again the consortia were more responsive than others. It has been an extraordinary time on so many levels.
On the line’s ship visit programme, Schmitt added: “We’ve still got opportunities for any agents that wants to come on board this summer. We have an extensive ship visit programme.
“We’ve got visits in Dover, Portsmouth, Poole and Harwich, if agents want to have a lunch on us and see the ship they’re more than welcome to.”
Agents are being asked to register their interest for a ship visit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reflecting on the past year, Healey said: “We were both delivered a laptop and a mobile phone and told to build the distribution through the trade and we built on it using Zoom.”
Sales operations assistant Sophie Barrett is set to join the business development team, which also includes Katie Harber. Barrett will split her time across both roles.