Viking Cruises hopes to bolster ties with the trade with a string of initiatives aimed at driving bookings through the agent community.
Neil Barclay, head of sales for the river and ocean cruise brand, said he was keen to ensure the line "moved with the times" and continued to deliver innovative solutions for agents.
Viking is to launch its first online trade portal this week, a quarterly magazine for agents and a revamped training programme.
Barclay said Viking was "committed to supporting agents" and that the trade-dedicated microsite and training tools were testament to that.
The Madefortrade.co.uk microsite will be used to support, educate and incentivise agents, and has been introduced following feedback from key partners.
Barclay said Viking’s previous ways of communicating with agents were outdated and agents had been requesting an online portal to house selling tools and marketing materials.
"Until now, if an agent wanted anything from us, such as marketing materials, they would have to call us every time," he said. "Now, they just need to log on to Madefortrade and everything will be there.
"This is something we’ve wanted to create for some time and we’ve been compiling a lot of feedback from agents who said the technology needed to improve."
The microsite will feature a forum for agents to communicate with each other and Viking, articles on cruise and destinations, training, and marketing materials.
The Viking Cruises training course has been revamped to ensure agents don’t "switch off after 10 minutes".
The course is split into sections covering river and ocean cruises. Each has five modules focusing on topics such as destinations, onboard experience, cuisine and selling tips.
"Some programmes are boring or monotonous and we wanted to ensure ours isn’t,” said Barclay. “Agents who complete the training become Official Viking Experts, with access to extra benefits."
The brand has also released the first issue of its trade magazine, Hei!
"We wanted to do the magazine because we thought it was a fun and light-hearted way of telling agents more about Viking and about cruise in general," Barclay added. "Over time, we want to expand it and have more agent influence on the content."
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