EXCLUSIVE: Luxury cruise company, Crystal, is now priced in Australian Dollars across its full suite of products on a localised website, crystalcruises.com.
The breakthrough has been nearly 12 months in the works, and soft launched towards the end of 2019. The switch over for Crystal’s Australian website from USD to AUD removes any potential “roadblocks” that may have deterred consumers and travel advisors using the platform, says Karen Christensen, Crystal Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Australasia.
Speaking exclusively with LATTE, Christensen said the Australian website will assist travel advisors with lead generation and new marketing opportunities.
Christensen said Australia has been a “test bunny” for foreign currency for the company, admitting it has been a “painstaking” task from a reservation perspective to aligning all systems, “but we had to get it right,” she explained.
“Did it take longer than I hoped? Yes. But has it been worth it? Yes, because now we’ve got a website that shows the travel agent support.”
Crystal’s website now enables consumers to search for ocean, river, yacht and expedition – namely Crystal Endeavor – all on the one website and URL. Customers can also search for their nearest listed travel agency by postcode.
The “test bunnies” trialling the platform, on and off for the past six months, have put Crystal’s reservation call centre and online booking system, Cruise Builder, through its paces to ensure it offers a seamless operation.
Christensen lauded Crystal’s Australian travel advisor network who have supported the cruise line while the website continued to list voyages in US dollars.
“We still achieved enormous growth since opening up this office and that’s really encouraging for us. Crystal is a luxury brand sitting among other luxury cruise brands, but now that Australian dollar pricing puts us right there where I don’t see any roadblocks.”
She said the site makes selling “so much easier” when travel advisors already have so many options to choose for their clients.
“That’s the reality. The website is now a tool that they’ll get so much out of in terms of looking professional, getting the educational product that they need very quickly and being able to really identify for them, the right product for the right client, because that’s the bottom line of it. If any of us want repeat business, that has to be done at the very beginning.”
Last year’s CLIA Hall of Fame inductee said she believes consumers and travel advisors will also be “very surprised” at Crystal’s pricing position.
“Pricing was such a crucial point to the roll out. We’ve set a very favourable exchange rate and the results that we have seen with the soft launch are testament to doing the right thing, so we’re very excited about that.”
Australia is Crystal’s first market to offer foreign currency and paves the way for the company to roll out similar options in other key source markets. The Sydney office, entering its fourth year of operation in 2020, is Crystal’s only regional corporate facility outside of North America.
Crystal will celebrate 30 years of operation in August this year.