Friday, 29 November 2013

How to know if your client is a river cruiser

How to know if your client is a river cruiser

By Michelle Baran
InsightFor a travel seller, I imagine that it’s hard not to see the staggering growth in the river cruise category and wonder: What’s the allure, and would this be something my clients would enjoy?

For agents who haven’t experienced a river cruise themselves, this can be a slightly more challenging question to tackle. Being a relatively new product in the travel marketplace, it seems that a growing number of agents who are new to river cruising are having clients approach them with questions and requests about the product (especially as Viking Cruises continues to invest heavily in advertising). This means that agents not totally familiar with river cruising are having to get educated quickly and on the fly.
MichelleBaranWhich is why an infographic recently created by Abercrombie & Kent, itself a new entrant into the river cruise market, struck me as particularly interesting — it is designed to help travelers navigate whether they should opt for small-ship exploration cruises, river cruises or barge cruises.

The distinctions made between the latter two categories are particularly helpful as travelers who are interested in exploring inland waterways decide whether a river cruise vessel or canal barge is the way to go.

The choose-your-own-adventure quiz asks whether the potential cruiser’s style is more “‘Country Inn’ hospitality” or “‘Country Club’ discreet.” If it’s the first, canal barging might be the way to go. And if it’s the latter, a river cruise might be the better option.

Which cruise is right for you? infographicOther distinctions the infographic makes include that river cruises tend to be well-planned itineraries through many of the major cities and capitals of Europe, while barge itineraries are played a bit more by ear as the barges meander through small villages. (To view the infographic,click here or on the image, left, for a larger view.)

While passengers can travel some 50 miles per day on a river cruise, they might 50 miles in a week on a canal barge, meaning they’re going to cover a lot more ground on a river cruise and delve deeper in a very specific region on a barge.

Of course, A&K’s chart is somewhat playful and geared toward A&K’s product offering. But it could be a good way to start the river cruising conversation.