Designer Travel almost doubles cruise business to £5m in less than a year

Homeworking group Designer Travel has almost doubled its cruise business to £5 million in less than a year after launching an in‑house education programme.

Cruise Designers, introduced in April 2022, was backed by more than 20 cruise lines and included monthly webinars and bespoke offers to increase homeworkers’ knowledge and confidence to sell more cruises.

Designer Travel set itself a target to increase cruise sales from £2.6 million to £5 million – a 92% hike – in the 12 months to March 31, and achieved the feat a month early.

Of the group’s 110 homeworkers, 93 have now sold a cruise and its top sellers have sold more than 50 cruises each in the past year.

The agency’s bestselling cruise line is Celebrity Cruises, with sales topping £1 million.

Managing director Amanda Matthews said Cruise Designers had transformed the agency’s focus on cruise. Previously, some of its homeworkers would have sold cruise only if they “stumbled upon it”.

“We’ve always sold cruise but we’ve not focused on it as much as other agencies,” Matthews said.

“Our target was ambitious but I said ‘if we’re going to do it, let’s go for it’. The whole idea was to embed cruise into our business.”

She added: “We were tracking sales every month [in the past year] and it was clear very quickly we were on target. Cruise has now become an integral part of our business.”

Matthews said the agency’s training got off to a strong start when Celebrity Cruises invited more than 20 Designer Travel agents to visit Celebrity Beyond last year.

“I am so proud of all our homeworkers, especially in a year that has been challenging for them,” said Matthews, who added that the Cruise Designers training had helped agents convert existing clients to cruises and attracted new customers.

“We’ve been really proactive on social media and a lot of this business is new to cruise,” she said. “We’ve brought in a new market of people who have never cruised before.”

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