NCHL launches full attack” on Aussie market
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) is dropping its General Sales Agents (GSA) in Australia and New Zealand markets and moving its luxury brands to the newly established NCLH Asia Pacific headquarters. Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas will join Norwegian Cruise Line in Sydney by 01 April, replacing Wiltrans, Cruise Office and New Zealand’s Cruise Holidays with “about a dozen” new recruits in field sales and in the contact centre. “You never get a kind of full attack on the market unless you have your own office and your own dedicated people,” Steve Odell, Managing Director NCHL Asia Pacific told travelbulletin. NCHL initiated the process by setting up an office and moving Norwegian Cruise Line over late last year, with the intention to add the luxury brands at a later date. “It’s about having your own dedicated employees, people who are only selling your brand and making sure that you give a very focused corporate attention to selling the products,” Odell said. The new sales and call centre staff will work across both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas, with back-office functions to be shared between the brands. Opening the office has brought about 50 new jobs to Sydney and the cruise business, a move which has been welcomed by travel agents. “With 50 new people, we’re really giving a lot to the local cruise industry in terms of potential to sell and make money,” Odell said. Agents are set to receive “a whole lot more support” and the company is stepping up its investment in marketing and sales. “Between the brands we’re going to have ten sales people in the field supporting travel agents every day, we’re not going to be so anonymous…we’re a very trade-focused company and what we’re trying to do is broaden our distribution and get more agents selling our brands.” NCHL is planning a corporate roadshow of all three brands in April, which will stop off at major cities around the country “to introduce their personalities formally and to get to all the local markets in a more face-to-face way”. The company is also ramping up for the debut of Seven Seas Explorer in July – touted as the most luxurious ship ever. “Luxury is always trying to push itself to the next level, so a lot of this is about choice and freedom and flexibility,” Odell explained. “What we’re trying to do at this level is move on to bigger and better rooms and suites. For example, the Regent suite, which is the biggest one, is 3,900 square feet. It’s going to have a spa of its own in the room. It’s got a garden area outdoors. It’s being billed at the world’s most exclusive address.” The 6,000 tonne vessel will have five main dining venues on offer, providing more choices and more space, whilst keeping the passenger numbers at a low 750. The cruise line is also pushing for a younger generation of cruisers by positioning Norwegian as “hip, fun and a party”. “It’s about being seen in the right places with that market, a lot of the activity for that generation of cruiser is done online so we’re putting a lot more of our marketing funds into online activity.” Odell commented. Despite the push, 98% of NCHL’S business is still driven through agents. “Everyone does direct business but our mantra is travel agent business,” Odell concluded.
We’re a very tradefocussed company and what we’re trying to do is broaden our distribution and get more agents brands’ selling our