Cunard president predicts second consecutive ‘record’ wave for line

Cunard president Katie McAlister has predicted the line will experience a second consecutive “record” wave season in 2024.

McAlister told Travel Weekly she is “hugely excited” for the coming year which will see the line launch its first new ship in 14 years, adding 44% to Cunard’s overall capacity.

The line is “counting down” until Queen Anne enters service, McAlister said, as she reported sales for all ships in the fleet are above the level they were at this time last year.

“Trading is really good,” said McAlister. “We had a record Black Friday and we are expecting to see another record during wave.

“Agents are really supporting us and we are so grateful to them. We have invested in the business development manager team and that is putting us in a really good position as we go into the wave season, which is going to beat last year’s record.”

She added: “I would advise agents really get to understand the new concepts we will have on board Queen Anne so they can go into wave and really push sales. It’s all about boosting their knowledge.”

Vice-president of sales and marketing Angus Struthers hailed the importance of the trade in driving Cunard’s sales, saying the capacity increase with the introduction of Queen Anne has only been made possible by the strength of trade sales.

“Sales for all the ships in the fleet are above where they were this time last year, plus sales for Queen Anne have surpassed our expectations so we are in a fantastic position as we go into the new year,” he said.

“The trade accounts for the majority of our sales so agents are really important to us as a brand. We would not have been able to sell this additional capacity without the help of agents.”

UK sales director Tom Mahoney hinted the line will expand its trade sales team in 2024 to further support agents.

Although it is currently “unclear what the team will look like”, Mahoney said, the team will “definitely” grow once Queen Anne has entered service on May 3, 2024.

Homeworkers will be a “real focus” for Mahoney in the new year as he looks to increase engagement with a segment of the market the line has not historically given enough attention, he said.

“We grew our trade engagement team from one to three members this year because we wanted to provide more support for the trade,” said Mahoney.

“Once Queen Anne has been delivered next year, we will expand the team even further.

“Engaging with homeworkers is going to be a real focus for me next year as we have not historically done enough to bring more homeworkers into the Cunard family.

“Next year, we will do more events to help experience the brand without necessarily having to get on the ship, so we will provide more materials so they can really get exposed to what we do.”

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