Cruise agents urged to target 'aspirational clients'

Explora Journeys’ chief sales officer has urged cruise agents to “embrace and nurture aspirational clients” when selling luxury product.

Chris Austin said there is “a lot of opportunity” for the trade post-pandemic, with savings, disposable income and the desire to travel at an all-time high.

He said: “You may be saying, I don't have any rich clients. I urge you to also embrace and nurture aspirational travellers. Every single client you have could be experiencing true luxury travel in their lives. 

“Luxury is actually far more attainable for many people [than you might think]. You don't actually have to be rich to have that seven-day experience, or even that one evening experience. Think about how many people now rent a villa for a week that they couldn't afford to buy. People have access to these experiences, whether it's a private jet on a fractional basis or even leasing a car.

“People have tasted luxury. And many of these may be aspirational. The perfect thing to talk to them about is celebrating life events. Ask them ‘when are you celebrating your 25th wedding anniversary? When do you turn 40 or 45 or 50? Let’s plan it, let's celebrate with luxury travel.’”

Speaking at CLIA’s Luxury Residential event, Debbee Dale, managing director of business consultancy Debbee Dale Development, agreed, adding: “If you don’t offer, you have made a huge assumption and that doesn’t close sales or create customer advocates. The worst thing someone can say is no.”

Austin said the future is “very, very bright” for both travel agents and the travel sector. 

He cited a survey by global payments company Flywire, which found that 85% of consumers believe that travel advisors are the best way to get a personalised travel experience. The survey also showed that 72% of luxury travellers are spending more on their holidays than they did before Covid-19, while 78% of those surveyed believe travel is more important to them now than it was pre-pandemic, particularly in the 18 to 54 age category. 

Austin said the UK has also seen a “substantial spike in affluence over the past two years”, adding: “[Credit Suisse's] Global Wealth Report published in June 2021 showed that global wealth actually increased during the last two years by 7.4%. The UK numbers are even higher. Here, we've seen an increase of 10% in the wealth of the affluent, and by 2025, it's projected to increase by 39%. Our future will be very, very bright if this trajectory continues.”

He encouraged agents to utilise supplier partner materials to “leverage the power of storytelling” and build “deep, meaningful relationships” with customers.

“Attracting new clients can actually cost five times as much as keeping existing ones,” he said.

“If you increase client retention by 5%, your profits will increase from a minimum of 25% to a high of just under 100%. So always make sure that your clients feel heard, and that you listen to them.”

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