As the trade prepares for Cruise Week, Phil Nuttall, chairman of Clia’s agent advisory panel, explains why agent training is key to business success

Any travel agent who is serious about the growth and development of their business will invest in training. The question is therefore, why is it so important?

If we are to be successful as a business we must work as a team, especially in the cruise industry where cruise lines are continually innovating and refining their products. Clia offers a virtual one-stop-shop for existing cruise professionals and those who see the huge opportunity that cruise has to offer.

The knowledge gained by engaging in the Clia training programme is invaluable and following our first Travel Advisory Panel meeting it became clear just how much opportunity signing up to Clia can bring.

This is not just limited to online training manuals, but also to ship visits and UK and overseas conventions. The experience gained by engaging in these activities takes me back to my initial point about being successful or being part of a successful business.

You share your knowledge! It is impossible to know everything, but by taking the time to invest in training, the rewards are there to be had both personally and as a business.

The cruise industry has gone through a great deal of change over recent years and in terms of training, there has never been a better time to re-visit your business and take a strategic look at the opportunities within the cruise industry and see what Clia can really bring something to the table.

I believe that as an industry we are in a much better place with clear lines being drawn in terms of the products available to the consumer. What we’re keen to get across is that by using the training provided by Clia more doors start to open in terms of the niche experiences.

I am talking about luxury and small ship cruising, river and expedition cruising. These styles of cruising are on the up but require a more detailed understanding of how to sell them and why our customers should be considering them for their holiday; after all, most are of a higher ticket price. Clia training provides this knowledge which allows agents to justify the ticket price to our customers and the confidence to recommend a particular style of cruising – and in doing so, becoming a true consultant and not just an order taker.

None of the above would be possible without the continued investment and innovation of the large cruise lines who work hard to introduce new people to cruise.

They provide a fantastic alternative to a land-based holiday and the Clia training modules are backed up by the cruise lines’ own training modules, each of which will count towards Clia training points.

My advice – engage with your team and invest your time in training wisely. Decide what you want to specialise in and share your knowledge and experiences within your business. It’s exciting times in the cruise industry and Clia training should increase your earning potential.