Interview with Mitch Schlesinger from VOYAGES TO ANTIQUITY
For more information go to www.voyagestoantiquity.com
What is the most interesting thing that you have learned while operating during the inaugural season?
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
VOYAGES TO ANTIQUITY
It is extremely rewarding to see how many travelers are interested in an experience that includes the unique enriching and educational product approach we are offering, featuring the amazing sites from civilizations thousands of years old and the ability to experience foods and wines from throughout the region. The MOST interesting thing we learned is that there is a HUGE audience in the 40-60 year old demographic that would like to sail with us, but could not due to the length of trips in 2010.
So what has changed for 2011 to provide this audience with this opportunity?
- All itineraries have been re-designed as 14-16 day Cruise-Tours (ala Orient Lines), featuring a cruise (7-12 nights) + included pre and/or post cruise hotel stays (2-3 nights) in Rome, Athens, Istanbul and Cairo.
- The full itineraries are still 14-16 days for the audience who has plenty of time.
- The sailings themselves are now anywhere from 7-12 nights for those with limited time, but want an in depth destination experience of this nature.
- This is particularly important for the younger demographic who needs and wants to travel in the summer.
- New destinations include a unique Black Sea cruise (including Russia, Georgia, Ukraine & Bulgaria), Corsica, Sardinia and a return to Libya on two n. Africa itineraries.
How should travel agents approach selling the product for 2011?
- The redesign of the itineraries provides them with a significantly expanded audience to promote the product.
- For mature travelers 60 + with more time, they can promote the full itineraries.
- For more of a baby boomer audience (40-60) who are still actively working and have limited time, they can just take the cruise. Or in the case of our seven (7) night sailings in July and August, they can opt for either the pre or post cruise hotel stay (2 or 3 nights) plus the 7 night cruise and do the entire trip in 11 days..
Does this change how travel agents should target customers?
- Agents should still be looking for clients who can travel at least 10 days roundtrip and have experience traveling internationally
- As mentioned above, now they can promote to clients 40 + years of age due to the shorter sailings.
- The best targets also have a history of spending in excess of $3,500 + pp.
- There is a very strong crossover from clients who have taken river cruises and longer land tours.
- The product will have a distinctive appeal to clients with interests in history, art, architecture, theology, etc.
Are there any booking incentives for 2011?
- We are offering FREE AIR to guests who book by December 31, 2010.
- The Aegean Odyssey also has 16 dedicated single cabins with only a 15 % supplement....as long as they last.
- Once they are sold, we still have guest-friendly single supplements of 25-75% depending on the category in double occupancy staterooms.
Thank you Mitch!