NCHL launches full at­tack” on Aussie mar­ket

Travel Bulletin - - CRUISE REPORT -

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

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