Booking process must match quality of holiday, Celebrity boss tells agents

Ensuring the booking process matches the quality of a holiday is key to retaining customers, according to Celebrity Cruises’ managing director and vice-president for the EMEA region.

In an interview with Travel Weekly, Giles Hawke urged agents to provide the same quality of experience when a customer books a holiday as the experience they will receive during their trip.

He encouraged agents to focus more on hospitality than selling when speaking to customers and to focus on making clients feel “special and valued” instead of pushing sales.

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“A big part of enjoying a holiday is the booking process and the anticipation ahead of travelling,” he said.

“When people come on our ships, they have an amazing experience and feel special and loved so we need agents to match the booking experience to the holiday experience to ensure people feel valued.

“These people are spending thousands of pounds on a holiday so it is up to the agents to make sure they feel like they’re getting some of the Celebrity Cruises experience from the start of the holiday process.”

Hawke added that agents who want to do well will “focus more on hospitality” because it will increase the likelihood of a customer becoming a repeat booker as they “loved working with them”.

Hawke also encouraged agents to stay up to date with training so they can give customers “the best possible experience”.

He advised agents become specialists in a small number of cruise lines instead of trying learn about all of them as they will provide more expert knowledge to customers.

He added: “We know lots of agents sell a huge number of cruise lines, but there is something in being a specialist and knowing fewer products really well which will help sell.”

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