There’s never been a better time to sell Windstar Cruises now that Star Legend will be operating winter sailings in the Mediterranean for the first time.
The well-priced cruises on the all-suite ship, available from December 2023 to April 2024, give clients an affordable introduction to the luxury cruise line.
“These taster cruises between Rome and Barcelona are close to home and good value, so it’s a great opportunity for people to try out the Windstar experience,” said Head of Sales, UK & Ireland Augustus Lonsdale.
If clients fall in love with the brand and go on to book another cruise – and Augustus is confident many of them will – then agents will earn commission from the repeat bookings, even if customers re-book onboard.
The Med winter cruises are also a perfect opportunity for entrepreneurial agents to put together their own group bookings, significantly boosting their earnings potential. They’ll benefit from exclusive group rates and free berths, even if it’s their first-ever Windstar booking.
Windstar’s standard discount for groups is 5% (in addition to any other offers) and agents will receive a free berth to join the sailing if they book nine or more guests, or they can opt for extra commission instead.
“We will honour the group discount even if agents don’t hit their minimum target so there’s absolutely no risk to them, they can sell with confidence knowing the customer will get the discount regardless, and if they do hit their target, they get a free berth to join the cruise or take the extra commission,” explained Augustus.
“Often agents assume that they need to go out and find a ready-made group, but that’s not the case, agents can put together their own groups and often clients don’t even know they’re on a group booking, they’re just benefiting from the exclusive rate the agent has secured.
“It’s great for agents because normally they have to make a certain number of bookings before they can access a cruise line’s exclusive rates, but not with us, we don’t want to put barriers in their way, we want to help them sell.”
On specific ‘Star Advantage’ departures, the group discount rises to 10% and agents qualify for a free berth for every seven clients. Augustus said three or four agents are in the process of booking groups of up to 30 people on the Mediterranean departures this winter and urged others to have a go.
Windstar’s established Tahiti cruises are also a great opportunity for group bookings, said Augustus, as French Polynesia is the line’s fastest-growing destination for enquiries from the UK this year.
“I don’t like the phrase ‘revenge travel’ that came out of the pandemic but it feels like that is something that is coming back again, people are opting for iconic trips,” he added. “Now they can travel again, they’re doing the trips they’d always planned.
“We are seeing a massive growth for Tahiti in terms of enquiries so we will support that in terms of group bookings and joint marketing, we’ll do a lot of the heavy lifting for agents.”
And if you need another reason to consider Windstar Cruises for your clients, Augustus pointed out that 100% of its UK bookings are via travel agents, it doesn’t do any direct marketing.
“I am always open to agents coming to me and telling me what they need,” he added. “If agents get behind Windstar, we will provide the tools to support them.”