How to Sell River Cruises Specialist
The River Cruise Client
River cruises are an ideal option for those on your client list who have taken international trips throughout Europe and Asia, group land tours or ocean cruises.
Current demographics for river cruises include:
Affluent clients who have plenty of vacation time are the ideal candidates for river cruising. Sell them pre- and post-cruise land extensions, or combine two cruise itineraries back-to-back. River cruises are also ideal for retirees who wish to avoid the “hassle factor” of travel and don’t want to arrange everything themselves. A meticulously planned river cruise gives them peace of mind because everything is taken care of, so all they have to do is enjoy their vacation.
Consider river cruises for travelers who are short on time but still want to see as much of Europe as possible. They’ll usually enjoy at least one port a day – sometimes even two if the itinerary includes stops at several small villages. The vessels’ ability to dock in a convenient location, close to the historic city center, makes it easy to see the sights of greatest interest, even on a relatively brief stop-over. Guests can also opt for “cruise only” itineraries, which forgo any pre- or post-cruise land extensions.
Those travelers who have already visited Europe’s major cities and want to delve deeper into interesting and more off-the-beaten-track areas are also prime candidates for a river cruise.
River cruises could be an excellent option for multi-generational travel groups. While not ideal for young children, older children (12 and up) can enjoy some independence as well as quality time with their families. Experiences such as bicycling through Europe are both culturally enriching and fun at the same time. Families will also enjoy the unexpected delights of local fare, such as the scrumptious pastries found in places like Vienna or in the many small villages along their route. Europe’s festive Christmas Markets can also be a magical experience to share as a family. The newest river cruise vessels are being built with families in mind, with larger staterooms and the high-speed Internet access, movies, TV and music channels that are of great interest to younger travelers.
Consider river cruising for those clients who have enjoyed motor coach touring but now find it a bit of a hassle to get around from hotel to hotel. Assure them that they only have to unpack once on a river cruise ship! For older travelers with less mobility, river cruising is ideal because it provides for a scenic and enjoyable journey, even if one never steps off the ship. Clients can relax on deck with a book, gaze out at the ever-changing views, indulge in a spa treatment, savor wonderful food and wine, or enjoy an eclectic schedule of onboard music and nightly entertainment. For those who do venture ashore, most lines also have shore excursions that guests can enjoy at a more leisurely pace.
River cruises are attracting younger and younger guests by providing amenities and shore excursions particularly designed to appeal to more active travelers. Many vessels now feature swimming pools and/or whirlpools, saunas, fitness rooms and walking tracks, and some cruise lines carry an onboard fleet of bicycles for guests to take on guided bike tours or to sightsee on their own. Europe’s rivers are often lined with scenic bike paths that provide a fun way to experience a destination. Even walking tours are being adapted to better accommodate varying fitness levels, with “actively paced” tours for guests who wish to cover a bit more ground.
The beautiful vistas of Old World Europe provide a romantic backdrop for couples of all ages. Words like Paris, Vienna and the Danube River conjure up images from countless Hollywood love stories. Fairy tale castles, centuries-old cathedrals, rolling green vineyards and sidewalk cafes all add to the romantic ambience of a river cruise.
Couples in their 50-70s make up the majority of guests on board most river lines. Some are traveling on a European river cruise to celebrate a special occasion – most notably a wedding anniversary. For these travelers, suggest a vow renewal ceremony either on board or ashore to turn a great vacation into a once-in-a-lifetime one.