Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has reported a significant upturn in trading since it went off sale with Thomas Cook in April, although the firm has not attributed the turnaround to that decision.
Nathan Philpott , Fred Olsen sales and marketing director, said bookings volumes were down 5% in the two weeks before April 17, when it announced it was going off sale with the UK’s largest cruise retailer, but were 58% up in the following two weeks leaving April up 24%.
Fred Olsen decided to come off sale with Cook after it lost its credit insurance with the retail giant through Euler Hermes which decided to pull cover amid the travel giant’s ongoing financial troubles.
Philpot told Travel Weekly at this week’s sixth Ace Cruise Convention: “We have had a phenomenal few weeks.
“It’s not because of our decision regarding Thomas Cook, it’s just one of those coincidences. There are probably a number of factors like the publicity surrounding the Titanic memorial and the weather.”
Fred Olsen ship Balmoral was chartered by Miles Morgan Travel to operate a hugely successful memorial Titanic cruise from Southampton.
Philpot said Fred Olsen would go back on sale with Cook as soon as credit insurance was restored but he said he had no idea how long that would be.
He added since coming off sale more agents have looked to work with Fred Olsen and some who were already doing some bookings with the operator have increased their share.
The line has signed 28 agency agreements with new agents to the business since April 17, Philpot said, more than would be normally expected.
Fred Olsen also claims its move to tackle the discount culture in cruise by withholding a portion of commission and only paying if agents do not discount has been paying off.
Philpot said one partner which used to discount saw earnings on a campaign improve from £15,000 to £27,000 on a campaign despite revenues decreasing from £300,000 to £270,000.
“Now people have got their rational business heads round this they have realised they can make a lot more money. It suggests people were offering discounts before when they did not need to,” he said.
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