Steve Smotrys, the new v.p. of global sales for Seabourn, acknowledges what a tough year it’s been for the travel & tourism industry, and specifically for the cruise industry, but he points out, “the thing that’s always been clear to me over the 20 years I’ve been in the industry is how resilient cruising is. Every time there’s been a global event, cruising will take a little bit of a hit, but then it comes back stronger than ever, and I don’t think this will be any different. When something like this happens, you have to look for the silver lining, and I think the pause will lead to more innovation and new creative ways to deliver an amazing onboard experience.”
And speaking directly to you, the travel advisors, Smotrys says, “Stay positive. I know that seems obvious, but it has been a trying year and advisors have had a rough run. So stay positive because we’re going to get there.
“Once we endure this pandemic, advisors are going to be in greater demand than ever before. And now with all of the new safety protocols in place, advisors are going to be looked at more than ever to educate and guide consumers. Everything that has happened this year is going to put them in demand more than ever.”
‘It’s Truly a Partnership’
“Travel advisors,” says Smotrys “need cash in hand. They haven’t had the cash flow out there for a while. Seabourn, like all the Carnival Corp. brands, has always had a policy of paying commission when the guest pays in full. So, the question becomes how do you encourage guests to pay now rather than later? I think a creative approach the Seabourn team had before I arrived was the Early Bonus Savings incentive. Guest gets a 10 percent discount if they pay in full sooner rather than later. It’s a great policy because then everybody wins—the guests get a great rate and the advisor gets their commission now as well.” He notes that although the promotion is about to expire, it’s been so successful Seabourn is looking to bring it back in the near future.
“So, staying creative like that and thinking of payment terms is how we can support travel advisors. It’s a partnership; it’s truly a partnership. I’ve always seen it like that so I’m glad the team came up with that concept. We really want to create more dedicated support for our luxury advisor partners. Today there’s so much information for advisors to navigate through and it’s our responsibility as a brand and as a sales team to support them and give them the new tools and be there for them in all their endeavors.”
An Eye on 2021
Smotrys acknowledges that due to the pandemic, a few things have needed to be adjusted, but “it will be an amazing experience on board like it always is.” He points out that Seabourn has the youngest luxury fleet in the industry, and he’s excited about the Seabourn Venture, the line’s expedition cruise ship set to sail in December 2021, with its sister ship debuting in 2022.
“These ships are going to be game-changers in the expedition space. They are unlike anything else out there. They’ve been very thoughtful in designing these ships, and it’s not like Seabourn is just diving into this whole new segment. Seabourn has done a lot of experiences that are expedition-like, but these are the first ships that are specifically for that experience, so we have a lot of exciting things to talk about right now.”
For more information on Seabourn, visit seabourn.com.