Trade sales surging as Hurtigruten targets more agents, says new UK sales chief

Hurtigruten’s relationship with the trade is “key” if the line is to continue on its current growth trajectory, according to vice-president of sales and marketing for the UK and EMEA, Iain Powell.

The UK is trading 50% year on year, Powell told Travel Weekly, which he attributed to the increase of trade sales compared to direct.

Powell, who joined the line in March after the departure of Anthony Daniels, said the trade has historically accounted for 30% of the line’s sales, but in the two months he has been in post it has risen to 40%, and he hopes it will continue at the same rate.

He praised the performance of UK agents, saying trade distribution is a “key element” for growth of the business, and he is “focused” on establishing relationships both with more trade partners and those who became estranged during the pandemic.

“We are seeing significant growth in the UK and trade partners are a big part of that,” he said. “Our ambition is to keep growing our trade distribution levels so agents are going to become an even more important part of our business.

“We are trading 50% up compared to last year which is amazing, and agents are a key element of that growth, which has been driven by how we’ve reengaged with partners we worked with historically as well as engaged with new partners.

“Our B2B revival post-pandemic is really key.”

Powell admitted the line needs to “simplify our offering” to make it more simple for agents to sell following the launch of its new premium product, Signature voyages.

In July, the line will relaunch its e-learning platform to provide “clearer and fresher content” on Hurtigruten’s products with new modules, plus it will alter its trade portal to separate itself from the HX brand and more plainly differentiate between the line’s Signature and Original sailings.

“I’m a big believer in the fact that agents don’t have enough time so we have created a more modular learning approach so agents can learn in bite-sized chunks,” he said.

“We are also creating a standalone Hurtigruten portal now that we have separated with the HX brand which will allow us to provide more content specific to our company which means agents can visit one site and understanding everything about us.”

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