Advantage Travel Partnership is close to agreeing commercial deals with a number of additional cruise lines to expand its portfolio.
Newly-promoted Senior Commercial Manager Jonny Peat said the group is keen to add more cruise product, especially as it is aiming to double the number of agents in its Latitude cruise community next year.
Speaking to Travel Gossip at the Advantage Cruise Conference last weekend, Jonny said: “We are about to bring more lines onboard, the plan is to move forward on that sharpish,” adding: “There are a number of niche operators we would love to work with.”
For suppliers, Jonny said Advantage offered ‘an opportunity’ since the group has seen a 150% increase in cruise bookings this year.
It is looking to grow the number of Latitude members to 600 over the next 12 months, with the aim of having more than one cruise advocate in all of its agents’ 675 shops.
“We need to spread cruise knowledge much further,” said Jonny. “We want every agent to have at least some basic knowledge of cruise and, where shops have more than one Latitude member, maybe they could look at segmenting cruise within their business.”
One of the main benefits of joining Latitude, which is free to Advantage members, is the opportunity to join hosted ship visits, said Jonny.
The group is looking to take at least 20 groups of agents onboard ships next year, double the number it hosted in 2023. It it also planning a fam trip specifically for the ‘fairly large proportion’ of its Latitude members who are new to selling cruise.
While many cruise lines limit ship visits to agents who have already sold a certain number of sailings, Jonny said he believes this is ‘short-sighted’.
“For agents who are excelling in land-based or touring holidays, it’s a natural progression to sell cruises, so it’s short-sighted of cruise lines not to not take these agents onboard,” he said.