How to Become a Cruise Specialist
Written by: Michelle on November 14, 2019
Many travel agents choose to specialize in cruising because they are passionate about the cruise industry and know that over 70% of cruisers book their sailing with a travel agent. Even if you’re an experienced cruiser, there can still be a lot to learn about selling cruises as a travel agent. Below we take a look at the steps you can take to develop your knowledge and skills as a cruise specialist.
1. Master the Basics
The first step to becoming a cruise specialist mastering the basics of cruising. Study up on the lingo of cruising, so that you can make sure you understand the terms you are reading or hearing. Practice reading deck plans for different ships and research popular ports of call, especially if you are in a drive market to any of these ports.
It’s also important to learn about popular cruise lines. Start by researching the lines that you want to sell and that you think your clients are interested in. Knowing what sets these brands and products apart from one another will ultimately help you sell that line.
2. Explore Cruise Line Education
Cruise lines also provide educational resources to learn about their individual brands and ships. For example, Carnival Cruise Line’s Loyalty Rocks: Learn and Earn program provides travel agents with education on everything Carnival Cruise Line, and it rewards agents for completing the courses. Carnival Cruise Line is not alone in this type of education. Each cruise line has resources to educate agents.
These courses can help agents to understand the brand and which of their clients the experience would best fit. Focus on a couple of cruise lines to begin deepening your cruising go-to’s and building your ability to answer your clients’ frequently asked questions.
3. Share Your Cruising Knowledge
As you become more familiar with the cruise industry and booking cruises, it’s important to share your cruising knowledge with your community and your clients. For example, if a local school is learning about careers, volunteer to talk about your role as a travel agent and the careers available in the cruising industry, from the engineers who build the ships to the chefs who work onboard. If an environmental group asks you to speak on sustainable travel, share how the cruise industry is using Liquified Natural Gas and increased recycling programs to become greener.
Showing that you have expert knowledge of the industry will encourage people to trust you when it comes to cruising and help build your reputation as a cruise specialist.
4. Use Your CLIA Membership
Along with cruise line educational courses, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) has invested in resources to educate travel agents on the cruise industry. After joining CLIA, agents can access educational courses on a variety of topics, both business-focused and cruise-focused. As you complete these courses, you earn credits toward certifications like Certified Cruise Counsellor (CCC) which can increase your credibility and expert level of knowledge with your clients.
Are you ready to become a travel agent or even a cruise specialist? KHM Travel Group is a leading host agency helping people across the U.S. start and grow their travel businesses. For more information about how we can help you, fill out the form to the right or give us a call at 1-888-611-1220.