Bellevue, Washington-based Global Voyages Group represents companies including Hurtigruten, Scenic Cruises, Scenic Tours, Ponant Cruises, Voyages to Antiquity and Century Cruises, among others, in the US.
Giersdorf singled out six reasons agents should hone their skills as cruise experts. Among them: to differentiate themselves from thousands of other agents offering the same mass-market travel products and to provide well-rounded insights that are attractive to high-value customers.
Also, specialty cruise clients maintain high 'customer lifetime value,' Giersdorf said, noting they take frequent trips, spend more and are loyal to trusted advisers.
Compelling demographic, economic and psychographic trends are propelling increased demand for experiential and authentic vacations, and specialty cruises fit the bill perfectly, around the world, he added.
Giersdorf advised agents they can secure their future with higher commissions, high lifetime-value customers and specialty cruise partners who need them.
He said industry research confirms that traditional agents, focused on mainstream cruise and travel products, are losing market share due to consumers' growing sophistication and access to online and mobile e-commerce platforms.
Most specialty cruise products don't have the reach and resources of the larger brands, so agents can continue to grow their customer base for these types of products, Giersdorf said.