Fathom Cuts Fares, Agents Still Struggle With Sales Process

Cruise Week

Citing issues ranging from a high price point to lack of direction on how to approach selling the product, agents report that Carnival fathom bookings are well-below expectations.

Within the past week fathom significantly dropped its fares, addressing the initial concern, but what about other issues that have kept this product from selling well in the early stages? Cruise Week asked fathom Senior V.P. of Sales David Drier to address some of the challenges:
“Whether we’ve equipped agents enough to date I’m not sure,” he says. “What I know needs to happen is agents need to articulate the experience in order to sell it. They’re really not selling a cruise to the Dominican Republic, they’re selling an experience that is meant to bring great benefit to those in country as well as to the passenger travelling. It happens to be executed by ship.”

When it comes to Cuba it’s a different story for the itineraries in the sales process. Drier says itinerary matters more for Cuba than it does for the DR. “The itineraries we’re looking at would be great itineraries on their own even without the social impact element,” he says. “The agent community would be able to sell Cuba based on itinerary alone.”
For Cuba it’s the destination that is going to drive the demand. “We know that. But that’s good. We know that our programming will be extra sensitive to the people to people and the cultural immersion and building towards a social impact that we can have on the ground,” says Drier.

In terms of developing group business for experiencing fathom, Drier’s advice is straightforward: “Church groups are ideal for both the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Over the years there have been a lot of mission style trips that have gone by charter plane down 
into Cuba to just try to understand how the people are living."
Both destinations make sense for educational trips. “We’ve talked to high schools about senior trips and we’ve talked to various universities. There’s a lot of interest in Cuba from various business schools who would like to take a group of students down to understand how commerce works under a Communist system,” says Drier.
“I also see team building opportunities among professional groups - lawyers, doctors, bankers, all those types of associations to me make sense as ways to galvanize interest around groups. Both the DR and Cuba are really powerful in terms of groups.”
In terms of the trade and fathom, Drier emphasizes there is and will be full support. “We really believe the trade is our conduit to the market. We will be doing more awareness building with the trade in mind so they can really be our ambassadors to the public.”

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