Emma Sanger, Future TravelThe subject of electric ticketing (e-docs) in the cruise industry is emotive and has been highly debated recently. The move to do away with traditional ticket systems is inevitable.

It is argued that cruising is a luxury product and therefore, customers receiving their travel documents in a wallet is all part of their cruise experience.
 
I have countless cruise wallets stacked in a drawer at home. Is this not a waste? The pre-cruise experience is better than it has ever been, as clients can go online and print off their documents as well as reserve restaurants and make spa reservations. 

For higher-value bookings, maybe agents should see providing their own wallets as an extra service and advertising opportunity?

Some argue that the cruise lines are just passing the buck and cost to us agents, but I can’t see any evidence of this. It is true that not issuing tickets is saving them millions of pounds a year but this cash gets invested into the industry to enhance the product. 

Eighteen years ago I booked myself a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas to the Caribbean for a week. It cost £1,000 each. I can now book the same experience with a far superior ship for less than this.

In real terms, the cost of cruising has come down, yet the cost of oil, labour and these fantastic facilities has gone up.

Given the choice between a fake leather ticket wallet and more facilities on board, I know which I would opt for. How about you?

Word hard, play hard 

October was a busy month with the British Travel Awards in London and it was great to see Travel Weekly winning one.

I had a great evening being looked after by Bev Platt and co from Training for Travel.

I also attended World Travel Market in November, and although it was reported numbers were up on last year, I couldn’t help but think the Thursday, which is agents’ day, was very quiet. Hopefully there will be more incentives for travel agents to attend next year.

Thanks to the Trinidad and Tobago tourist board who kindly let me gatecrash their party. And what a party it was! The image of Dwight Yorke heading the conga line will stay with me for some time to come.