Crystal to re-establish APAC call centre, launch travel advisor portal

Archbold confirms expanded beachead in Australia for luxury cruise brand

Crystal has confirmed the recreation of around half-a-dozen new roles in the Asia Pacific region, mostly in Australia, to support the ultra-luxury cruise line’s ambitious growth strategy, and to support the travel trade.

Speaking to VIP travel advisors aboard Crystal Serenity today while sailing from Venice to Dubrovnik on a preview sailing, Tony Archbold, VP of Sales for Asia Pacific revealed the regional team will include the re-establishment of a Crystal call centre, within the offices of sister brand, Abercrombie & Kent in Melbourne. The reservation team is seen as crucial to support the travel advisor network in Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. The vision is to have the team active by October 2023, ahead of the return of Crystal Symphony to local waters later this year.

Paul Girouard, Senior Director of Sales North America; Melissa Nightingale, Regional Sales Director US/Canada West; Chief Sales Officer Marett Taylor; Brandon Townsley, VP Sales & Trade, Partnerships: Archbold, VP Sales APAC; Andrew Magowan, VP Sales UK & EMEA; Alfredo Schmulson, Director of Business Development; Matthew Boutwell, Senior Director of Charter Sales; Oscar Dunn, A&K Expeditions and Experiences Ambassador, with Fernando Barroso de Oliveira.

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“This will provide travel advisors a huge service improvement,” he said.

Archbold told LATTE he envisages Crystal’s call centre team will comprise around four staff.

Additionally, Archbold will have the support of a new dedicated key accounts executive for Australia, based in Sydney, a similar role in Asia, and a sales assistant locally. The recruitment for those roles is already underway, with those positions expected to be announced in 6-8 weeks’ time.

Further, the former senior Seabourn executive confirmed he and his wife are uprooting, moving from Sydney to the Victorian capital in the coming weeks to be closer to A&K Travel Group’s headquarters in South Melbourne.

During a panel discussion of Crystal executives onboard the preview cruise, it was also revealed that a travel advisor portal is in the planning.

Panel discussion of Crystal executives aboard Crystal Serenity: From left are: Marett Taylor, Chief Sales Officer, A&K Travel Group; Nisha Patel, Director of Brand Management; Tony Archbold, VP of Sales, APAC; Oscar Dunn, VP Cruise Sales, A&K; Andrew Magowan, VP Sales UK & EMEMA; and Brandon Townsley, VP, Sales & Trade Partnerships.

Nisha Patel, Director of Brand Marketing for Crystal confirmed the portal was in the works and would be launching “soon”.

“We know that it is extremely critical to the success in your efforts in selling Crystal. So we’ve listened to your feedback, we hear you and it is one of our next priorities,” Patel said.

“We are committed to making sure we can launch that at the end of this year,” she said.

In the meantime, Crystal’s website continues to evolve, with the latest updates including past guest “Stories” as part of the online content hub, and new dynamic deck plans which provide images and a description of the cabin or suite when hovering a cursor over a desired accommodation. The aim of which is to “help you sell those to your clients as well,” Patel added.

Additionally, Crystal will introduce an online booking engine which will be set within the travel advisor portal. That platform will eliminate the need for travel agents to call the cruise line.

Other enhancements will include the launch of a group program that is “flexible and dynamic”.

Lead image: Sailing aboard Crystal Serenity off the coast of Calabria, Italy are Debra Fox, MD A&K Australasia/EVP Trade Sales APAC A&K & Crystal; Christina Levin, CEO A&K Travel Group/Crystal and Tony Archbold, Vice President of Sales APAC, Crystal.

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