How do you make a river cruise meeting greater than the former year?
Host the attendees on the river ships by themselves for the whole 5-day function, of training course.
This year’s annual ASTA River Cruise Expo released a selection of modifications as the meeting kicked off its second year in Budapest, Hungary. Most unique this yr is the accommodations.
As a substitute of obtaining vacation advisors continue to be at just one of the regional resorts downtown in close proximity to the river, advisors stayed on the ships, like regular cruise friends. Educational sessions were also hosted on the ships alternatively than at the lodges. The only portion of the convention that took position in a hotel this calendar year was the normal session and trade display held at the InterContinental Budapest (which I experienced the honor of emceeing this 12 months).
The shift was produced to give advisors a much more immersive way to expertise the ships, and it proved specially valuable to the hundreds of travel advisors who ended up new to the conference and for these who experienced by no means been on a river cruise right before.
“We built the decision immediately after last yr to give attendees the selection to stay on board one of the ships they’d like for the duration of the expo to actually get a complete working experience of that ship, and then they could switch and go to a diverse ship and expertise a distinct manufacturer,” said Sarah Very little, ASTA vice president of business enhancement.
Dimensions was also a component in the selection to host advisors on the ships. Additional than 750 vacation advisors attended the River Cruise Expo this calendar year, a 50% maximize around the 500-furthermore who arrived last yr.
“We locate that in some of these stunning European metropolitan areas, it really is essentially complicated for us to come across physical room in these boutique inns to accommodate [so many] advisors in instruction sessions,” Small claimed. “So logistically, it just would make a ton of perception — they have these beautiful lounges and eating places onboard these ships that make organic meeting place for our attendees and can make it wonderful and uncomplicated for them to navigate from a single to the other. So there are heaps of pros to moving individuals about on to the ships.”
Educational periods had been held for travel advisors onboard the river ships docked in Budapest for ASTA’s 2023 River Cruise Expo. Picture Credit score: Courtesy of ASTA
The feed-back from journey advisors has been favourable and is obtaining the outcome that ASTA experienced supposed.
“What we’re hearing from them is staying below and encountering the brands in person vs . just with the profits components is likely to be immensely valuable in qualifying their consumers in advance of scheduling them on a cruise,” Minimal mentioned.
“The ships all seem kind of comparable, but when you happen to be listed here in person, they just about every have their have exclusive vibe, their own really feel, and there is seriously no real tradeoff for traveling to them in human being.”
ASTA explained that it can be undertaking exploration to examine just how helpful the convention has been for advisors selling river cruises.
“Very last 12 months, a fantastic percentage of our attendees who came experienced marketed anyplace from a few to 6 river cruises in just 6 months,” Small claimed.
“So we are also likely to do some supplemental investigation this year of what they were being providing in advance of they arrived in this article and how that alterations six months from now. We assume to see some good final results from that.”
River cruise ships at ASTA’s 2023 River Cruise Expo. A handful of lines, this kind of as Viking and AmaWaterways, brought many ships to the expo. Image Credit score: Courtesy of ASTA
AmaWaterways, Amadeus River Cruises, Avalon Waterways, Scenic Luxurious Cruises, Viking and market newcomer Riverside Luxury Cruises were being all highlighted at the River Cruise Expo, and this year observed far more makes bringing numerous ships to showcase. Viking introduced two ships this calendar year, the Viking Modi and Viking Vali. AmaWaterways introduced 3 ships, the AmaVerde, AmaViola and the AmaMagna.
Avalon introduced the Avalon Imagine Amadeus brought the Amadeus Silver III, Scenic introduced the Scenic Jasper and Riverside Luxurious Cruises debuted the Riverside Mozart, which was earlier portion of the Crystal Cruises fleet.