Virgin Voyages pledges greater focus on UK market

Virgin Voyages has pledged to place a greater focus on the UK market, admitting it has “under-invested” in the past.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, Virgin Voyages chief executive Nirmal Saverimuttu emphasised the importance of the UK market and outlined plans to invest more in the UK sales team.

“The UK is a hugely important market for us and we’ve under-invested in the UK in the past, so we want to make sure we change that going forward,” he said.

“In the Mediterranean, about 30% of our customers are from the UK, but I would love to see that number close to 60%.

“We have a full investment plan for the UK sales team, which I’m very proud of, but needs more support from us.”

Saverimuttu said the line had welcomed “thousands” of agents, which it labels ‘First Mates’, on board this year and encouraged more trade partners to experience the product to give them “confidence” to boost their sales.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from our First Mates that they want to feel confident that they know what the product is so they can sell with confidence to their sailors, and that’s fair enough, so we know we need to make that investment,” he said.

“For [agents] who haven’t yet sailed, the opportunity is there and we’d love for you to come on board.”

Saverimuttu conceded the brand “made some mistakes” with its initial branding when it was launched, which gave the impression it was targeting party-going millennials instead of its key demographic.

“We made some mistakes in terms of how we originally marketed the brand and there were some misperceptions about it,” he said.

“A lot of people thought it was for young people who wanted to party, but the reality is it’s very sophisticated.

“We’re making an active effort to redress those misperceptions formed at the beginning, and show our core product [targets] people in their 40-60s who love great food, great service and are looking for that attention to detail you typically associate with more luxurious products.”

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