Expedition and small-ship cruising are lucrative areas within the travel sector, yet there are still hundreds of Travel Agents missing out on money-making opportunities.

That’s because, according to Aurora Expeditions and Ponant, there’s still some consultants who are yet to realise that they’re sitting on a goldmine of potential expedition clients.

Speaking at Cruise360 Australasia in Sydney last week, Aurora Expeditions and Ponant agreed that Travel Agents who are missing out on “really good” commission are those who have yet to research their existing database and target the potential expedition cruisers.


Dianna Schinella, Aurora Expeditions’ Industry Sales & Marketing Manager, said every Travel Agent has expeditioners in their database and they usually go under the title of ‘Baby Boomer’.

“These are the clients that want to start exploring further afield and they want to visit the final frontiers. The only way to do that is via expedition or small ship cruising.”

Dianna Schinella, Aurora Expeditions’ Industry Sales & Marketing Manager


She continued, saying it would benefit Agents to attempt to convent their cruise clients into expeditioners because it means access to high commission levels and repeat business.

“The money making opportunity is ongoing because expeditioners tend to come back year-after-year,” she said. “Once they’ve travelled to the Arctic, they want to go to the Antarctic, then South Georgia and then to newer destinations.”


So, how can Agents convert their database into one of lucrative expedition cruisers?


Ponant’s Vice President Asia Pacific, Monique Ponfoort, said it starts with agency owner-managers who need to recognise the potential of their database and work with cruise brands to convert it.

Once managers have touched based with brands such as Ponant, they will work on providing educational opportunities for the agency and put them in touch with a dedicated sales team.

Following on, Monique suggested agency owners appoint a developing consultant to be the “champion” in the office who can answer all other Travel Agents’ questions and act as a conduit between agency and supplier.


Once all the education is in place, the VP suggested looking over existing databases for the potential expedition cruisers and tempting them with powerful stories and videos, which bring the wildlife and scenery to life.

“What I find with expedition is Agents are either confident, or they have a lot of questions,” she said. “But the supplier can make that transition simple.”

“Expedition and small ship cruising is a very lucrative market and it’s not too late to start building a portion of your business.”

Monique Ponfoort, Ponant Vice President Asia Pacific


Have you experienced success in converting your database into expedition cruisers?