Explora Journeys’ sales chief eyes agent showcase events on debut ship

Explora Journeys’ sales chief plans to showcase the new luxury line’s fleet to as “many travel advisors” as possible as the ships launch from 2023.

Chief sales officer Chris Austin outlined how the first vessel – Explora I – would go “halfway around the world” during its maiden season.

From late May 2023, the 900-passenger Explora I will operate a series of sailings in the eastern Mediterranean and western Mediterranean before repositioning to northern Europe, where it will operate a round-Britain sailing.

Explora Journey I will debut in May 2023, with the line’s remaining ships due to enter service in 2024, 2025 and 2026.

From northern Europe, the ship will sail to Iceland, Greenland, North America and then down to the Caribbean before circumnavigating South America in early January 2024.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, Austin, who was previously senior vice president, global sales and marketing at Seabourn, said any ship showcase events would also be an opportunity to promote MSC’s new luxury brand as well.

“We want to invite as many travel advisors on board to showcase Explora I,” he said. “And of course, then the following year with Explora II as well.

“We understand the value of seeing the product is absolutely critical, and will really work hard to do as much as that as possible.”

Austin also revealed plans to launch a “best in class” travel agent hub, with a built-in booking platform, marketing suite, and training platform.

He added that the hub would “really help the advisors learn about our beautiful ship and our brand”.

Explora Journeys – part of the MSC Group – will launch four ships between 2023 and 2026, but Austin hinted that the yet-to-launch line planned to expand the fleet beyond that.

Outlined the ship launch dates, he added: “Maybe a couple more as well. There’s a few options out there as well.”

Austin said Explora was “committed” to the UK and Ireland market and would be expanding the team in December with a recruit focused solely on the UK.

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