Upper Crust: Advisor Sales Of Luxury Cruises Top 80%

Cruise Week

By all accounts, the retail side of the business accounts for more than 80% of luxury cruise sales, far higher than the percentages we hear from execs regarding travel advisors' sales of contemporary cruises.

Hence, if there's any silver lining to recent earnings reports by cruise companies, in terms of implications for the trade, it's that upper-end business is performing better in terms of yield growth than the mass market. 

As a higher percentage of premium and luxury cruise business is sold by retailers than contemporary/mass market cruise business, one can make the argument that where today's travel advisors focus the most is where the highest levels of success in the business are occurring.

Booking percentages aside, Cruise Week has heard execs praise travel advisors for other ways they contribute. For instance, after noting the importance of far-out bookings to yield success in upper-end business, one luxury line president recently told us, "The trade has shown itself to be uniquely adept at making bookings far in advance."

That ability of travel advisors to explain the advantages of booking early has implications for contemporary lines as well: company earnings reports indicate people who book earlier spend more onboard. And onboard spend is clearly a priority for mainstream cruise lines in 2020.

This isn't just happenstance. At key agency group events we attended this year, we found a higher level of attention paid to upper-end business, with efforts like solid education programs on selling luxury and an emphasis on booking programs with strong appeal to high-spending consumers.