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Barrhead Travel targets cruise sales growth with dedicated training academy

Barrhead Travel has developed a virtual learning and development programme for staff to bolster plans to expand its cruise offering.

New and existing agency employees will be invited to participate in tailored Cruise Academy sessions, including bespoke modules as well as sessions from key cruise partners.

The Cruise Academy is part of Barrhead Travel’s core Training Academy division which has three full-time trainers.

Face-to-face training is complemented by an online learning lab which houses self-guided development opportunities from industry knowledge to skills training.

Learning and development played a leading role for Barrhead Travel during the pandemic with its training team delivering more than 9,300 hours of facilitated sessions during 2021.

The inaugural Cruise Academy intake of ten new recruits completed their first training programme this month. 

As well as introducing the dedicated academy, the group advertised home-working roles for cruise specialists to attract talent beyond its cruise call centre locations.

President Jacqueline Dobson said the idea for launching a dedicated academy came from identifying the speed of recovery of the general cruise market.

“Cruise has always been a big part of our business; pre-pandemic, around one third of our usual business was made up of cruise bookings,” she said.

“The scope of opportunity to connect more customers with experienced advisors is significant because cruise is such a vast product with so many options to choose from.

“Cruising is a great holiday option as there’s quite literally something for everyone – no matter if a customer has a budget of £1,000 or £100,000, or whether they’re cruising solo or as part of a multi-generation family booking. However, you really need someone who knows the market to be able to offer the right product recommendations that are tailored to the customer.

“Selling the wrong type of cruise can damage a customer’s confidence in the sector – but get it spot on, and you’re likely to have a loyal cruise customer for life. That’s why training is so important and we’re really excited to launch the academy to strengthen our position in the market.”

Dobson added: “Some of our cruise positions were very specialist, so offering home-working options meant we could extend our talent pool across all areas within the UK.

“We’re seeing a stronger response to our recruitment campaigns which indicates that people are beginning to return to careers in the industry.

“While there are still challenges ahead, it’s brilliant to be welcoming larger groups of new recruits and planning ahead for growth.”

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