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 — When U by Uniworld’s ‘The B’ sailed out on its preview journey along the Seine River, top social media influencers with a combined reach of nearly 10 million were onboard, along with many travel agents and contest winners, all getting an exclusive sneak peek of the first-ever river cruise brand for Millennials.
Ever since last week’s preview cruise the cruise company says it’s seen a pretty big spike in bookings. What’s the next phase in Uniworld’s marketing plans? Trade-focused initiatives and trade-dedicated cruises, according to the Uniworld team, in Toronto on Oct. 13 for a Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection VIP lunch event at Auberge du Pommier with guest of honour, The Travel Corporation CEO Brett Tollman.
Following on the heels of The B, Uniworld’s River Ambassador will be reintroduced as The A this spring.
The Uniworld team says it sees two booking waves. There’s a light wave in late fall, in the fourth quarter. For ocean cruising, the wave comes between January and April. The cruise company is looking forward to seeing high booking volumes come in when both ships are completely done and operational.
“We’re very, very encouraged and we’re very excited to bring this to the market,” says Kristian C. Anderson, SVP Global Sales, talking about U by Uniworld at the Oct. 13 VIP event. “A lot of folks talk about Millennials but they really don’t do too much about it. We’re putting our investment where our mouth is, so to speak, and we think it’s going to yield a really great return for everyone involved.”
Anderson continues: “The Millennial consumer is going to have a great time [and] our travel partners are going to enjoy selling it with confidence because it’s a TravCorp brand, part of the Uniworld family. We, in turn, are going to enjoy providing this really unique experience that’s unlike any other in the industry today.”
Uniworld is the first to enter the Millennial river cruise market, which is a new travel category. The feedback from the trade has been has been “incredible”, says Michelle Palma, VP Sales Canada. “The brochures are flying off the shelves every time we do any type of trade event or show. There are a lot of young agents in the market now and they’re excited about it.”
Adds Palma: “We have so many huge loyal Uniworld followers that come back and travel with us year and year again. And so this is yet another opportunity because they know and love Uniworld and can now introduce it to the younger members of their family and say, here’s a great opportunity for you to take a river cruise that we’ve been doing for years but it’s fun, funky and contemporary and more like what Millennials want.”
The Uniworld team says its market research showed that Millennials want to cruise, but not necessarily with grandparents and families. Their focus is on travelling with like-minded individuals and sharing mutual experiences.
Sailings on The A and The B are scheduled start in April 2018 with prices from US$200 per person, per day. Four eight-day itineraries – The Seine Experience, Rolling on the Rhine, Germany’s Finest and The Danube Flow – will sail along the Rhine, Main, Danube and Seine Rivers, with overnight stops and longer stays available in major cities including Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and Budapest. U by Uniworld will also offer two five-day holiday itineraries – Dashing Through The Danube and A Merry Little Christmas Cruise – during the holiday season.