Open Jaw’s Nina Slawek with Silversea’s Derek Lloyd
Tina’s Sense of Adventure is definitely piqued!
Silversea Cruises hosted an industry soiree for its Toronto-based travel partners last week, and spoke not only about what differentiates it from the other cruise lines (mainstream and luxury alike) but also how it offers guests a great deal of value.
“The number one reason we’re here is to celebrate our partners, but we’re also here to talk about who we are and how to really present this brand, and remind everyone what it is that customers pick up the phone for,” said Joe Leon, Silversea’s vice president, field sales, North America. “It’s not price. Many of us think it is, but it’s not. And that’s what we’re going to talk about – our destination focus, our branding, the luxury platform we operate, and value! Value is a word that people may not associate with Silversea. We feel that maybe we’re seen as too luxury or out of reach, and I think that hopefully you will walk out of here today with an understanding that we all have luxury customers.”
Picking up on the value theme, Derek Lloyd, Silversea’s regional director of sales for Canada, reiterated the message: “One of the challenges that I have is people think Silversea is more expensive than it actually is – most people think it’s $1,000 a day, we’re not, we have some great values out there,” said Lloyd. “These are the types of voyages that you can get those clients who are maybe sailing with Celebrity or Princess or Azamara – you can get them to move into luxury.”
To illustrate the point, Lloyd provided a few examples of promotions available now, including a seven-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Rome on the Silver Muse this summer (5AUG), for CAD$4,800 per person, which includes air and a US$1,000 shipboard credit. What’s more, the single supplement for solo travellers is only 25 percent – a point that certainly got the attention of everyone in the room. There is also a 10-day Copenhagen to Stockholm itinerary for CAD$5200, also including air and the $1,000 shipboard credit.
More importantly, Lloyd highlighted the fact that consumers look for experiences. “People aren’t buying six Rolexes anymore, they’re buying experiences,” said Lloyd, in speaking about Silversea taking its customers to places they cannot access via regular cruise ships, such as Antarctica or the Russian Far East.
The cruise line’s Expedition product, which turns 10 years old in June, was initially developed as a result of demand from existing customers but soon became an important mainstay of Silversea’s offering by attracting a whole new clientele.
“Our most loyal customers wanted to go to Antarctica, and to these really remote, hard to get to destinations, and we’re forcing them to go and deal with [other] suppliers,” said Leon. “These are very loyal customers who had only sailed with Silversea for many years, and so we said to ourselves, ‘we’ve got a bit of demand, let’s go ahead and do it.’ But what we found is we’re now attracting a different type of customer, we’re attracting the adventure traveller, the person that would normally never take a cruise, or consider taking a cruise, but the only way to get to the destination they want to go to is through a ship.
"And then when they get on board, they recognize the service, the beauty of the ships, the spaciousness of the ships, the suites, the food and the friendly service that comes along with it. And we find that many of our adventure travel customers are now going and sailing on the classic fleet where before they never would have considered doing that. So we got into expedition cruising to satisfy the need we had from our existing base, and the pleasant surprise was we now get to deal with a totally different set of customers.”
Other points highlighted during the evening included:
The Silver Spirit is being lengthened by 50 linear feet, which is a first for a luxury ship and this coming winter will be based in the Caribbean;
The Silver Moon will debut in 2020 and will be a sister ship to the Silver Muse, itineraries coming out this fall;
The Silver Muse is going over to Asia this year (Silversea is “significantly adding to its capacity in Asia this year”) and in 2019 will be the Alaska ship for the summer.
Kerry Sharpe Columnist
Having worked in travel for the last 16 years, Kerry has experience covering the industry as media, as well as being under its lens when she worked for Thomas Cook, TravelBrands and itravel2000. A new mom, Kerry recently returned to the workforce and when she’s not chasing after her daughter, you’ll see her out and about covering industry events alongside her new BFF Tina the Travel Agent.