Silversea establishes global Travel Advisory Board

Group of 20 travel advisors includes two from Australia

Silversea Cruises has launched a global Travel Advisory Board comprised of a group of luxury travel specialists including two high-profile travel advisors in Australia and one from New Zealand.

Speaking exclusively with LATTE about the new Silversea Advisory Board in Sydney, Barbara Muckermann, President and CEO of Silversea Cruises acknowledged the crucial role of the frontline travel seller as “our primary distribution channel.”

“For Silversea, it’s very important for us to listen to them,” she said.

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The Silversea Travel Advisory Board was established less than a year ago, with the entire group recently meeting – for only the second time – last month in Amsterdam where they were privy to a behind-the-scenes viewing of Silver Nova at the MEYER WERFT shipyard and the keel laying ceremony of sister-ship, Silver Ray.

The local advisory board members are Melinda Gregor, Gregor & Lewis Bespoke Travel; Yvonne Verstandig, Y Travel and Jeff Leckey, House of Travel (NZ).

Some of the Silversea Travel Advisory Board at the Meyer Werft shipyard last month, including Australia's Yvonne Verstandig, Y Travel and Melinda Gregor, Gregor & Lewis Bespoke Travel and New Zealand's Jeff Leckie, House of Travel.

Other advisory board members are from regions such as the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Brazil and Mexico.

“We’ve tried to pick a global representation of very different advisors that could really help and infer our strategy,” Muckermann explained.

“The approach that we have taken for our travel advisory board that is different from others is that we have not picked our biggest sellers.”

Instead, Silversea has tapped luxury travel experts with high-net-worth clients to get an understanding on what makes them tick in their decisions.

The Silversea boss of three months used the example of Troy Haas, President & CEO of Brownell based in Alabama, USA. Haas has around 30 years of travel industry experience and sits on the Ritz-Carlton’s President’s Roundtable, the Four Seasons Advisory Board, the Lindblad Expeditions Advisory Board, and he has served two terms as Chairman of the Virtuoso Member Advisory Board.

“Brownell is not a cruise seller but he’s one of the largest agencies in the world

Barbara Muckermann, President & CEO, Silversea Cruises

selling luxury touring. That’s why we want Troy, because he brings a completely different perspective and that’s where other agents can also learn. They discuss the different economics of selling a different product, so it really gets very interesting.”

Muckermann added all advisory board members are under a non-disclosure agreement “which allows us to give them full visibility that really allows us to discuss with them openly on our strategy.”

The vision for the group is to meet two or three times annually.

Adam Radwanski, Silversea’s Managing Director APAC said: “As Asia Pacific is a strategically very important market for Silversea and its growth, we have a strong contingent of five partners to the board.

“We want to learn, we want to be challenged, and through that, continuously improve and dynamically respond to the ever-changing environment we operate in.”

Gregor told LATTE it is great to align with partners that value the thoughts and opinions of the travel agent community.

Melinda Gregor at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Amsterdam

“It is also great to hear from Silversea management on future projects and get a real understanding of all the different facets of operating a cruise line. Barbara is such an inspiration and I feel privileged to be involved on the board,” Gregor said.

“The opportunity to inspect Silver Nova was fabulous. She really is going to be a ground-breaking ship in so many ways and I look forward to see her set sail later this year.”

In late 2019, Silversea assembled an Australian Travel Advisory Board under former local head, Adam Armstrong and driven by Steve Richards, Director of Sales, however that was shortlived due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Muckermann and Managing Director Asia Pacific, Adam Radwanski, hosted Silversea Cruises’ Campioni event in Sydney last night to celebrate its top Australian travel advisors from around the country.

Asia Pacific to become Silversea’s second-largest market

Muckermann also discussed the likelihood of the Asia Pacific region becoming Silversea Cruises’ second biggest source market in the near future.

She told LATTE the region is “really driven by Australia and New Zealand where cruise penetration is the highest”, noting that when Australians leave home they stay away a lot longer than other markets.

“We have the longest average bookings from the Australian market,” she said, adding “The Australian market loves expedition. For us strategically, expedition is the big product to push, so of course you go where the fishes are.”

While the US remains Silversea’s top source, Muckermann forecast the Australian market will be close to overtaking the United Kingdom for the second spot by 2024.

“The UK is an amazing market but it has not been growing for over 10 years,” she said.

In Sydney yesterday at an event for media are the Silversea team, comprised of - from left: Charis Hildebrando, Marketing Campaigns Manager APAC; Adam Radwanski, Managing Director APAC; Barbara Muckermann, President/CEO; Philippa Walker, Director of Marketing APAC and Ingrid Staudenmeyer, Director of Business Development.

Silver Nova local deployment

Speaking on the launch of Silversea’s next ship in August, Silver Nova, Muckermann said deploying the vessel to the Australian and New Zealand market was “very important”.

After a short season in the Mediterranean following its christening, and then a short season in South America and a positioning through Alaska, across to Asia, Silver Nova will arrive in Australia (Cairns) for her maiden season in late November next year. The program here includes four rotations between Australia and New Zealand.

Silver Nova and her open deck pool

Muckermann said the Sydney-Auckland pairing was Silversea’s most popular in the region, and positioning Silver Nova was important as it will be “the most sustainable ship in the fleet and this is a market that understands and requests this ability. You can’t say the same of every market.

“Australians are much more sensitive to a sustainable ship so we thought it was the best investment for this amazing technology, and also strategically as this is our first market of investment so we want to bring the beautiful ship here.”

View Silver Nova‘s local inaugural season in local waters here.

Lead image: Silversea Cruises’ Adam Radwanski, Managing Director APAC with Barbara Muckermann, President and CEO.

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