MSC Cruises has unveiled details of a new programme that will revolutionise the way it does business with travel agents in the UK.
The ‘Serving You’ initiative covers a range of trade-friendly measures designed to increase awareness of the cruise line, make it easier to work with and boost sales.
The comprehensive package covers all areas of the line's relationship with retailers – including commission and marketing payments, improved account management, increased on-the-road sales support, clearer and better targeted promotional campaigns and new group and net-rate schemes.
The company has also outlined details of comprehensive technological upgrades, including the launch of its new ‘MSC Book’ sales platform for agents, an updated fun and interactive online training programme and a high-tech telephone system at its UK call centre to reduce waiting time.
The line's executive director UK and Ireland, Giles Hawke, said: “We have made no secret of our desire to become a significant player in the UK cruise market – ‘Serving You’ signals our intent to make the trade our top priority.
“Our aim is to reach 200,000 UK passengers by 2017 – more than trebling our current level of business. We can only do that by engaging with agents and putting them at the heart of what we do.
“Our ‘Serving You’ programme represents a huge investment. There will be a bigger sales team managing our relationships to bring our brand closer to agents and give them all the help they need to sell. The focus is on developing stronger and deeper ties with the trade, and we have looked at every area of our business to do this.”
The investment in ‘Serving You’ follows the line's recently announced expansion which sees four megaships on order, scheduled for delivery between 2017 and 2019, plus options for three more.
Meanwhile, the ‘Renaissance Programme’ to lengthen and improve the four Lirica-class vessels begins this month and sees a €200million investment.