Travel advisors say flexibility is key, Viking survey reveals

Health and Safety seen as the most important aspect for future cruising

Results from Viking’s annual industry survey of Australian and New Zealand agents has highlighted the need for flexibility in booking and reservation policies, but also reconfirmed strong demand in the marketplace for future cruising.

The annual survey aims to establish how agent partners are faring in the current climate, and how the cruise line is best able to service partner needs, according to Michelle Black, Viking ANZ Managing Director

“In 2020 due to the unprecedented impact of the pandemic on the entire travel industry, this tool has never been more important,” said Black.

“The launch of our Risk-Free Guarantee, at the very beginning of this global crisis, offering travellers the freedom to change their booking up to 24 hours before departure has proved to be a game changer with more than 94% of responses in Australia and 100% in New Zealand stating that this policy was a major factor in helping secure bookings through 2020 and into 2021.”

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Viking's current Risk-Free Guarantee policy, as of 21 January 2021.

Black said over 91% of Australian agents and 100% of New Zealand agents recognised Viking’s Risk-Free Guarantee as the best policy currently in the market.

“Unsurprisingly when asked what information or marketing messages would assist in influencing a client’s decision to book, health and safety protocols came out on top in both markets, followed by flexibility of cancellation policies, special offers and pricing and the size of the ships with smaller ships, in terms of passengers numbers, being more highly favoured.

“Interestingly the demand for cruising differs between Australia and New Zealand with 36% of Australian respondents saying there is demand for cruising anywhere and everywhere once cruising resumes, and 39% still keen to cruise but closer to home. In New Zealand the interest is much more regionally based with 39% interested in domestic cruising only, 32% close to home cruising and only 14% prepared to go anywhere and everywhere,” Black added.

Lead image credit: RF Studio/Pexels

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