How agents can sell cruise ship shore excursions


It is the other lucrative way in which travel agents can make money from the burgeoning cruise passenger market – selling shore excursions along the route.
Some cruise passengers buy four or more excursions on a cruise, costing $20 to helicopter rides for hundreds of dollars.
At least one cruise line pays as much as 15% in commission.
MSC raised its commissions at the end of last year from five per cent to 15, providing tours were booked through their own portal.
“Agents are out greatest asset and we want them to know that,” said marketing manager Giles Hawke at a UK conference.
“Shore excursions are very often an integral part of the whole cruise experience for customers, so it makes sense for agents to book everything at once.”
Royal Caribbean had Azamara Club Cruises president and chief executive Larry Pimentel heading up a project on behalf of the entire company of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd “looking at the whole shore excursion experience”.
Carnival is re-examining its shore excursion model due to the increase in third party suppliers providing alternatives.
One of Asia’s biggest third party excursion suppliers to cruise lines is Intercruises Shoreside & Port Services, which organises shore excursions around the world and has developed itineraries for all types of cruisers.
Regional Product Manager of Asia, Carmen Morosan said Intercruises has found that Asians have an interest in adventure, architecture, art & craft as well as shopping.
“Intercruises has been operating in Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia for the past eight years. During this time we have developed a diverse portfolio of shore excursions, ensuring we have something to offer all cruise guest demographics.
“It is up to the cruise line to select which tours from our portfolio are most suited to their guest demographic and then the guest must decide what they want to do – you’d be surprised by how many grandparents want to try indoor skydiving.”
The operator works closely with cruise lines like the Aqua Mekong, Celebrity Cruises, MSC, Cunard, Princess Cruises, Carnival UK, MSC Cruises, Crystal Cruises and many more.
Ms Morosan said the most popular shore excursions continue to be traditional panoramic city tours which help guests maximise their time in port.
“The Asian market has been has been more challenging in terms of shore excursion development, simply because Asian guests tend to cruise on shorter itineraries and are often familiar with the places that are being visited ie Singaporeans taking a cruise to Malaysia for three to four days.
“However, we have observed certain behaviours consistent with Asian guest, including a “badge collector” style of travel, where tours visit well known eateries or shopping malls. Intercruises is the first officially appointed Cruise Shopping Program Operator in Asia and has a full time shopping expert that travels in the destination identifying local merchants that can offer authentic and excellent value shopping experiences.”
Other companies like World Express, a sightseeing operator in Singapore has created fun ways for cruisers to explore the city.
The Singapore Runaround is a tour that’s designed for guests to tour the city like they were on the hit show, The Amazing Race.
Guests are given a survival kit with essential items like a map, mineral water, tiger balm and coins to use Singapore’s public transport to visit key attractions like Chinatown, Little India, The Colonial District and the Singapore River.
And guests will be rewarded with a refreshing Singapore Sling.
Other companies like Viator, a Trip Advisor-owned brand offers cruisers shore excursions in countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines ranging from $70.