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New River Cruises for 2015 Planned Easier with AppsOctober 27, 2014 By: Axus Travel App
Booked your clients on a river cruise lately? We’re willing to wager that the answer is yes. Industry stats continue to climb: River cruises now dominate 20% of the cruising market, according to Virtuoso, and Viking River Cruises, the largest fleet in the biz, has seen an annual growth rate of 31% over the last decade.
>>> CRUISE FAM: Yangtze River Cruise FAM Trip Courtesy of Pacific Delight
Although operators ranging from AmaWaterways to Abercrombie & Kent continue to roll out new boats and itineraries, travel advisors can barely keep up with demand. Advance bookings—some as far out as spring 2016—are standard, especially for peak travel months.
Which riverboat best fits your clientele? Here’s the scoop on three new cruises that you can book today.
Emerging country travel retaining five-star accommodations.
Myanmar continues to top bucket lists, especially as the country unveils new high-end accommodations in destinations such as Inle Lake and Bagan. On the riverfront, the 50-passenger Belmond Orcaella (think of it as the nautical cousin of the Governor’s Residence in Yangon) represents a new entry in the plush pillow club and just set sail on Myanmar’s Chindwin and Ayeyarwady rivers. Because of its spa, swimming pool, and spacious staterooms with panoramic windows, it’s ideal for clients intrepid enough for emerging country travel yet wanting to retain five-star accommodations.
Advisors should reserve the seven-night trip well in advance—even sailings in November 2015 are starting to book up.
A river cruise for foodies
Nearby on the Mekong, AQUA—already well known for its stellar cruises along the Peruvian Amazon—launched a new ship last month. Clients looking for flexibility will appreciate the three- to seven-day itineraries in Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as activity options ranging from flat-bottom boat tours of Cai Be’s floating market to taking a tuk-tuk tour around Phnom Penh. Culinary-minded travelers will also love the onboard dining, operated by chef David Thompson of Nahm restaurant in Bangkok, which focuses on local foods.
More space at a premium
The classic Danube and Rhine cruises are the most popular introductory voyages, though even riverboat veterans will get excited about the waterways’ new vessels such as Tauck’s MS Inspire and MS Savior, which launched this year. Both ships are 443 feet long but only host 130 guests (vs. the industry standard of 190), making them an ideal pick for clients who put a premium on additional space. Staterooms feature a generous 300 square feet and have marble bathrooms with his and her sinks.
A European historic route
Among other 2015 cruises, consider booking the new Romantic Rhine, an eight-day journey from Amsterdam to Basel by AmaWaterways, which includes an exclusive dinner at the thousand year-old Reichenstein Castle in Germany. AmaWaterways also produces an online course at Travel Agent University to become a river cruise specialist.
Planning River Cruises with Travelers
There are many ways apps can help your travel business, but keeping your clients engaged during a lengthy planning process and while on the river cruise, can be made easier with the following:
- AXUS Travel App. Instead of exchanging a year’s worth of confusing emails, reveal the itinerary as it’s confirmed so there’s transparency surrounding what’s been done and what needs doing. Advisors can also collaborate with travelers inside the application, hand picking excursions such as a horse cart ride through Old Bagan and a tour of Zalon’s colonial streets, or planning a post-boat extension.
- Use Pinterest to share menu items from river cruises such as AQUA. Familiar with a restaurant or dish you know your client will savor? Use the AXUS Travel App to message travelors while on board and share your expert advice.
- If a trip you book turns into a timeless favorite, you can always access the details of what made it so memorable by safely storing travel memories on a variety of apps such as Evernote, AXUS Travel App, Smitten Films, LastPass, and LyveHome.
- Take an online course at Travel Agent University for How to Sell River Cruises. The growing river cruise segment has created a new niche for travel agents to sell to both new and existing clients. With this course, you’ll learn strategies for selling river cruises and how to determine your target markets.
This article is brought to you by the creator of the new AXUS Travel app, and was produced in partnership with Travel Agent Central’s sales team. Travel Agent Central’s editorial team played no part in developing the article.