Friday, August 5, 2011

Seabourn Opens Sales and Support Office in Australia - What Does That Mean To the Aussie Consumer?

Seabourn's new Australian sales and support office may sound like news, but to me it doesn't mean much for the Australian cruise consumer today and, possibly, it won't mean much for a couple of years.

Why do I say this? 

And who am I to say this? 

Goldring Travel is a non-resident member of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and I have a number of Australian clients.  (And as the rest of the world, for some reason, lumps New Zealand in the same market...and it isn't the same market...Goldring Travel has quite a few New Zealanders clients too.)  In addition, I spent years in Brisbane (Bulimba, actually) working in the superyacht industry and I still have close friends there. 

And because of my love of Australia and its cultures (Queenslanders are much different than there countrymates from Sydney!) I have made significant effort to be involved in the luxury cruise business Down Under for years.  Goldring Travel even has a Brisbane telephone number: 07 3102 4685, so contacting us is only a local call.  (And my clients know that I am available for extended hours, so the time difference isn't much of an issue at all.)

When these local connections are combined with Eric Goldring being one of the world's top single travel agents selling Seabourn cruises with clients from countries as diverse as China to Angora, Great Britain to Italy and, of course, Australia among others, Goldring Travel's knowledge, experience, affiliation and savvy to provide the best cruise purchasing and customer support experience for the Australian consumer becomes obvious.

Looking at the present day Australian market, we all know that there are only a few travel agencies that are actually experienced with cruise holidays.  This lack of competition and competence does not bode well for the present day Australian consumer in the area of Price, Information or Service.  (By the way, Goldring Travel offers its cruises - with discounts and/or added amenities - in U.S. Dollars and, to be sure, that is a huge benefit to those who want to take advantage of the historically great exchange rate...as the Australian Dollar goes much further!)

To be sure, with the major cruise lines just now bringing support to the Australian travel agencies there remains a period where they must establish themselves, train the agents, have sales go from booking through sailing and, of course, getting qualified travel agents to experience the product. Trust me on this:  Looking at a brochure or reading off a computer screen is no way to match a client's desires with the information he/she needs to make an informed decision as to the cruise they want to take.

At some point in the future, there will be more qualified luxury cruise travel agencies physically located in Australia...but you are interested in your cruise holiday today.

There is one other aspect that you must also be concerned with:  Is your travel agent sufficient comfortable to sell you a luxury cruise holiday?  In the luxury travel business there is sort of a "golden rope" which many travel agents fear to cross.  Luxury travel can be intimidating for a travel agent that hasn't sold it before...or much of it.  There are countless times I have heard:  "Seabourn?  Crystal?  Silversea?  They were never offered to be me as an option."  And if they were offered, they were not explained properly.

So if you are interested in a luxury cruise, please visit Goldring Travel, contact me at eric@goldringtravel.com, or call on 07 3102 4685