ASEAN Cruise News speaks to luxury line Silversea’s Regional Director of Asia – Melvyn Yap. Mr Yap gives us an insight on how the line will be expanding the brand to Asian travel agents, and how you can sell Silversea cruises.
What kind of incentives does Silversea provide for agents based in Asia? Are there famils organised for agents to try the Silversea experience?
Silversea offers a selection of ship visits, events and a limited number of agent famil opportunities throughout the year for our key travel partners.
Tour leaders from travel agencies normally cruise with groups and, as a result, they have the opportunity to experience the Silversea product.
What kind of training programs does Silversea offer travel agents in Asia? Are there designated online portals and brochures? Are there seminars and speakers organised throughout the year? And if so, who are some of the speakers and what do they talk about?
Silversea conducts training regularly with all of our valued travel agent partners based in Asia. The training normally takes place in-house in order to effectively train consultants who are unable to leave the agency for long periods of time.
Each training session is tailored to the needs of the consultant and travel agency. For instance, consultants who are new to selling cruises will received information on the Silversea service offering and its products. Those already familiar with selling mass market cruises, receive support on the advantages of selling luxury. Consultants and agencies who have previously trained with us, are provided with a full product update and training on how to use Silversea’s online reservation system.
In addition, seminars are organised once a year, to coincide with an Expedition Leader availability or a Senior Manager’s visit from Head Office. This is extremely valuable as they are able to share their personal experiences.
Which countries (mainly within Southeast Asia) are the biggest clients of Silversea?
Within South East Asia, Singapore is the largest, followed by Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia.
Which countries have you seen the biggest growth over the past 12 months?
Within Southeast Asia, we have seen the largest growth from Thailand.
How is Silversea expanding its reach in the Asian market, particularly Southeast Asia?
Growth in this market is achieved due to the fact that unlike other cruise lines in Asia, Silversea works exclusively with travel agents by conducting informative and educational training, as described above. Three Silversea ships visit the region, these are Silver Whisper, Silver Shadow and Silver Discoverer. We find that ship visits are the best way to showcase the Silversea product, with travel agents encouraged to invite potential guests onboard to experience the magnificent product.
Word of mouth advertising also works extremely effectively, as well as cocktail parties for previous and potential new guests, who have the opportunity to mix and mingle and ask questions.
What are the most popular itineraries among Asians? And do Asian clients have different preferences from Silversea’s Western clients?
Generally speaking, our guests from Asia prefer to cruises to destinations that are further afield, including Europe, Alaska, Antarctica and the Arctic.
The preferences of Silversea’s guests who book from Asian countries differ slightly from western clients. Sunbaking and spending time lounging by the pool is less of a priority, with guests seeking more opportunities to have cultural experiences and lots of shopping, while still preferring the option of Asian cuisine onboard.