Mastering Sales Of The Intangibles On Deluxe Cruises Appeal to the senses and sentiments; talk about the goose-bump moments.
by Ming Tappin
Presenting: my dinner. High staff to guest ratio ensures
personal attention to detail.
Deluxe cruising offers elevated culinary experience
with dining choice and meticulous presentation that tastes as good as it
From our daily perch at the coffee bar: complimentary
inclusions take the nickle & diming out of the equation.
Small ship experience ups
the game in customer satisfaction in many ways.
I am fresh off my 1st
Oceania Cruise and had a wonderful experience. After my 10 days
onboard, I clearly understand why premium deluxe
and luxury cruising has so much appeal and how great it would be for agencies
to focus more on this market.
The small ship size, coupled with high crew to guest ratio
is immediately noticed. There was rarely a line for anything onboard. Even at
the busiest dining times, service was fast and efficient. Staff addressed us by
name and remembered our preferences. All specialty dining was
complimentary and invariably
topnotch. Having specialty coffee,
soda and bottled water included meant one less thing to sign for.
Oceania is known for their cuisine and we were thoroughly
impressed by the freshness of the ingredients, variety of international fare,
gorgeous presentation and flavourful combinations.
This was one thing I had high expectations for, and they did not disappoint.
As I reflected on the food quality, service levels, staff to
guest ratio and attention to detail that are hallmarks of premium deluxe and
luxury brands, I realize these are all intangible qualities - something you
can't quantify or hold in your hand. Yet it has the biggest impact on customer
satisfaction as it plays upon the emotional and pleasure centres of the brain.
Clients are drawn to these cruises because they can count on an amazing
experience that makes them feel great.
So, if the intangible is what gets clients wanting upscale
cruises, then selling the intangible is a skill travel agents should master. It
can be intimidating at first, as the goal is to convince clients to invest more
money for an emotional return. And paying for something they cannot hold onto
is always a difficult concept to grasp. But once you have mastered the skill of persuading clients to appreciate
the value, you will close the sale.
Experiencing the brand is certainly the 1st step to success. After my cruise, I
can now speak with confidence and communicate clearly on the value of a premium
deluxe brand. The next step is to take the focus off the price and talk about
the intangibles. Get your clients excited about the quality of the experiences
they will have by playing up elements like personable service, superior
cuisine, included amenities - but not just facts and figures - emphasize the
they will gain from these
elements. Appeal to their senses and sentiments, talk about the goose-bump
moments. Aim to sell the experience.
Lastly, don't always
assume that higher end cruises are unaffordable. The retail per diem on my
cruise was less than USD 265 pp,
including roundtrip airfare from
Canada, 10 nights in a verandah, unlimited internet, prepaid gratuities, the
aforementioned specialty dining and beverages -- and
a USD 350pp shipboard credit. Thanks to all
of the inclusions, I disembarked without a bill, and who doesn't like that!
When you add up all the pluses, there should be no objections; and once your
clients return, they will likely want to be repeat. I know I definitely will!
Ming Tappin is a cruise veteran with over 20 years’ experience in
the industry and has sailed on 37 cruises and counting. Based in Vancouver,
Ming is Owner of