Luxury sailing has reignited my passion for travel and given me the confidence to sell more luxury trips, says Ponders Travel managing director Clare Dudley.
I have had a love affair with travel for 34 years and in that time travelled extensively.
Over the past 18 month, if I’m being honest, I have fallen out of love with a business that normally is full of passion and excitement.
So I want to thank Regent Seven Seas Cruises for relighting my fire and giving me the belief and the drive I needed to once again run my business with the passion and pride it deserves.
There are several reasons I want to truly thank Regent for inviting me on its resumption sailing on Seven Seas Splendor.
I love selling cruise. Specialising in cruise has given me the opportunity to go on board many ships. I’ve sampled everything from a hotel barge for two people to the massive Symphony of the Seas for thousands. Cruising is in my veins.
What is strange, though, is that prior to this fam trip, I had not experienced sailing on a luxury ocean cruise.
Thanks to organisations such as Clia, I have been on many luxury ships but I had not sailed on one before. So to sail on Seven Seas Splendor was invaluable in many ways.
I could sell RSSC before – the training on offer is excellent – but now I get it, I understand. And, more importantly, I can’t wait to share my new-found love of the ship with my clients.
“Specialising in cruise has given me the opportunity to go on board many ships. I’ve sampled everything from a hotel barge for two people to the massive Symphony of the Seas for thousands.”
I would also like to thank RSSC for giving me the chance to share dinners and coach rides, and to sit in the sun by the pool or have a coffee and a catch-up, with many travel industry friends.
To learn that others have been through the same trying time as us, and to hear how they are faring, has been invaluable.
It has been helpful to listen to what others have done, and are doing, to be inspired by them – and hopefully to inspire others myself. These conversations have also helped reignite my passion for travel.
My final thank you to Regent is for showing me the light as regards selling luxury travel.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been selling luxury travel, but now I think I can really sell it.
To have seen the extent of the all‑inclusive luxury brand – to touch it, to feel it and to receive it in the way I have just experienced – will allow me to be brave enough to make sure many more of my customers experience this type of holiday.
Also, to have the time to enjoy this type of holiday experience has made me realise I probably don’t tell enough people about the luxury holidays that are available.
“To have seen the extent of the all‑inclusive luxury brand will allow me to be brave enough to make sure many more of my customers experience this type of holiday.”
With all that the world has been through in the past few years, many of our customers want, and indeed deserve, this type of holiday. We must start promoting luxury more with the ultimate aim of selling more.
I’m going to forget that there may be some who think the product is expensive. I know it’s luxury at its best and it’s worth every penny; and in many cases, it probably works out cheaper than other cruise lines once you add all that is purchased after the cruise begins.
Now it’s my turn to relight the fire of my customers. Take that!
My luxury plan of action
Following my Regent Seven Seas Cruises fam trip, I have set myself five clear action points for when I return to work. I will aim to carry these out as soon as possible so that I can capitalise on what I’ve experienced and hopefully get some bookings in the wake of a truly wonderful trip.
1. Make a list of all the clients who I think will like this standard of luxury cruise.
2. Call a select number on the list – it’s good to talk.
3. Email the remainder of clients on the list.
4. Accept Regent’s offer to invite our clients to their Everyman Events that are across the UK.
5. Write up a review of what I think is luxury and put it on our website.