P&O Cruises will increase the earning potential of agents and is promising to take more risks in marketing its cruises through the trade as it prepares for a ‘quantum leap’ with the arrival of its biggest ship.
Cruises on the 3,600-passenger Ventura go on sale on April 2. Details of its first programme were revealed last week, including a 14-night maiden voyage to the western Mediterranean and an ex-UK programme out of Southampton between April and October 2008.
Commercial director Nigel Esdale admitted the programme, which will feature a stand-alone brochure, was deliberately designed to stick to traditional cruise destinations with the hope of attracting new-to-cruise customers and families.
Now the programme has been launched, commercial terms will be thrashed out with agents over the next few weeks. Esdale said the cruiseline needs to expand its distribution base.
“We will be talking about new opportunities for agents both in terms of remuneration and marketing support,” he said. “We have taken a long, hard look at everything we do to make sure it’s as sharp as it needs to be. When we start talking to our agent partners we will be introducing a range of new initiatives.”
Esdale would not reveal details of what is being planned, but said P&O Cruises needed to “take a few risks” in terms of investing money through agents to find new customers. “We are going to have to speculate to accumulate,” he said.
The facilities on Ventura for children are expected to attract a large number of families who will be tempted by P&O Cruises’ usual 45% early booking discount.
Esdale said the ship will be designed to appeal specifically to the British market and called it a “quantum leap forward” for the 170-year-old operator.
View images of Ventura on flickr.com