Travel insights from Jackie Friedman, president of Nexion Travel Group

Three Tips to Make the Most out of Wave Season; Plus Going after the Cruise No Sayers

Wave Season is in full force – are you making the most of this lucrative time?

If you’re not familiar with Wave Season, it’s all about cruising! This season – generally from January to March – is when cruise lines offer many enticing promotions to consumers to help fill the ships. This is also when cruise lines tend to release new deployments, making this prime booking time for groups as well.

Wave Season is also a busy booking period, as your customers take this time to look at future travel plans and fill up their vacation calendars. And of course, the cold, winter months bring thoughts of warm and sunny locations! So, you want to make sure you jump on these opportunities – it’s a great time for you to go out there and grab new bookings or perhaps work on landing a first-time cruiser booking.

So, how can YOU make the most of this Wave Season? Here are a few tips:

  1. Know what your go-to suppliers are offering. Know the promotions and offers that are in place and pay close attention to booking windows and terms and conditions of these promotions. Your consortia and/or host agency most likely has tools to assist. For example, Nexion Travel Group makes supplier partner promotions available to its members in several ways – email, member portal and a microsite toolkit, for example.
  2. Book groups! This is also the perfect time to start working on groups. Many itineraries are already announced for 2020, and the early bird gets the worm. Use your network to go after your repeat or new group business.
  3. Tap into cruise block space. Your consortia and/or host agency may offer cruise block space that you can book into. For example, Nexion Travel Group has thousands of cruise groups you can book into, both exclusively and through its sister company, Travel Leaders Network. This space is great for your “onesie and twosie” customers, as it can offer guaranteed amenities or specialized events not always available to the general public.

In addition to these tips, consider going after the cruise “No Sayers.” Sometimes it’s challenging to sell cruises when negative news surrounding ocean cruising happens, and you’re likely to have a few clients who are reluctant to cruise. As an industry, it’s important to all of us to education our clients, so they can make informed decisions. The cruise lines rely on us to deliver first-time cruisers – and the better we do, the less suppliers will rely on direct sales to consumers.

Here are just a few reasons you can give non-cruisers to catch the wave:

  • Value: Look at everything included in your cruise – transportation, accommodation, meals (galore!), onboard activities and most entertainment. On some luxury lines, alcohol, tips and shore excursions are included.
  • Togetherness – or not: It’s your choice if your group wants to hang out together or pursue individual interests. Cruises have special programs and activities for little ones to adults, so there’s something for everyone.
  • Convenience: You unpack once; the ship carries you to your destinations.
  • There’s plenty to do – or not: Cruises offer tons of activities, from wine tastings to cooking classes, rock climbing to speaker series. Or, you can lounge on a deck chair or hang out in the pool, without a worry in the world.

Here’s to a successful Wave Season!

About the Author

Jackie Friedman is the president of Nexion® Travel Group, a fully accredited host agency owned by Travel Leaders Group. She oversees a team of 60+ employees supporting 4,000+ independent travel professionals in North America, and has been with the host agency since 2004. Jackie is often asked to participate on industry panels and supplier advisory boards. She sits on the Travel Institute Board of Trustees and was on the ASTA Board of Directors from 2012-2016. Jackie is a recipient of the Barbara O'Hara Award for Advocacy, among other industry honors and lifetime achievement awards.

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