Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — Not only can agents now earn 20% commission on select sailings with Silversea, the price tags on many of those cruises might be a pleasant surprise for clients. “People think Silversea is $1,000 a day, but we’re not. At these prices you can get your clients to move up to luxury,” said Silversea’s Regional Sales Director, Canada, Derek Lloyd, at last night’s ‘Evening with Silversea’ travel agent event at Vaughan Estate in Toronto.
Silversea is offering its 20% commission incentive on 2018 Caribbean, Canada & New England and Asia sailings booked by April 30. Here’s the catch: you have to ask for it. “When you book the cruise for your client, you need to ask the Silversea res agent about the 20% commission deal. It’s an ‘ask for’ promotion,” says Lloyd.
Silversea also has plenty of deals on the table for Canadians, not least of which is the new Canadian dollar pricing that came into effect starting last month. At an exchange rate of 1.13 (compared to the bank rate of 1.32), Silversea’s new Canadian dollar pricing policy “represents a significant savings for Canadians.”
Best of all, the Canadian dollar pricing can be combined with Silversea’s many other consumer incentives, including the air promo and an early booking bonus that offers savings of 10% for passengers who book and pay in full by April 30 for sailings Sept. 1 onwards.
Lloyd pulled up some prices for upcoming Silversea sailings, to show that contrary to popular perception, Silversea is not an out-of-reach product for many clients. Sample sailings include the Aug. 5 Barcelona to Rome sailing on Silver Muse, for Can$4,800. “That’s in peak season for seven days and that price includes airfare and US$1,000 in shipboard credit. And the single supplement is only 25%,” said Lloyd.
Another option, a 10-day Copenhagen to Stockholm trip, is Can$5,200 and again includes airfare and the shipboard credit. Or how about a 14-day Bangkok to Singapore sailing on Silver Shadow, for Can$6,030, or Can$6,400 for a Galapagos cruise? “People think Silversea is more expensive than it actually is,” says Lloyd, adding: “People aren’t buying six Rolex watches anymore. They’re buying these experiences.”
Increasingly those experiences include expedition cruises. Silversea is marking its 10th anniversary in expedition cruising in 2018, making the cruise line something of a veteran in an increasingly crowded field, with more and more expedition ships coming from a growing number of cruise lines.
Silversea has four expedition ships now (Silver Cloud Expedition, Silver Discoverer, Silver Explorer and Silver Galapagos) as well as five cruise ships (Silver Muse, Silver Shadow, Silver Spirit, Silver Whisper and Silver Wind). “We’re almost like two cruise lines,” said Lloyd. “We don’t take our cruise ships to expedition destinations. And with Silversea, clients don’t have to choose between an expedition ship and a luxury cruise ship.”
Every cruise line has a strategy and Silversea is no different. “We made the decision to have a large number of small ships,” says Lloyd, adding that the benefits to passengers include a very high guest-to-staff ratio. “It’s the service that really defines what luxury is these days.” Plus, every single suite has access to Silversea’s butler service. “A steward looks after the room, and the butler looks after your clients.”
Other Silversea perks range from included gratuities, to free unlimited WiFi as of April 1, spacious verandah suites and high quality amenities.
Silversea does not include shore excursions in its prices, and that was a conscious decision, says Joe Leon, Silversea’s Vice President, Field Sales, who came up to Toronto for Miami for last night’s event. “We think it’s important to allow your clients to experience the destination the way they want to experience it,” said Leon.
Leon had some selling tips for agents in the audience: “Clients are going to make a choice to pay more, more often than you think. And they will spend out of their means for landmark occasions like anniversaries and birthdays. But value does play into the equation. Value is a word most people don’t associate with the luxury market. Your clients are calling you because there’s something in these destinations that they want to experience. The price just makes it easier for them.”
Destinations are one of Silversea’s strong suits: the cruise line is sailing to 965 ports of call, a third more than its nearest competitor, says Lloyd. Adds Leon: “What makes Silversea different is the destinations, and not just the number but how we get there.”
With nine ships, Silversea can take passengers around the world, literally, with the announcement of a new 2020 world cruise onboard Silver Whisper that will visit all seven continents.
Also coming in 2020, Silver Moon will join the Silversea fleet, a sister ship to the very popular Silver Muse. Silver Moon itineraries should be available by fall 2018, says Lloyd.
Silver Muse is heading to Asia and agents should watch for some good values for clients looking to sail through Asia, he adds. Other ship news includes the lengthening of Silver Spirit. The massive undertaking will make Silver Spirit “almost a sister ship to the Muse, with dining options and more connecting rooms.”