Additionally, between January and March, every voyage will have a new lineup of wellness events such as sound bath meditations and healthy happy hours. New entertainment productions and limited-time shows will be sprinkled in as well.
‘To help our sailors have a fantastic 2023, we are giving them early access to our most inclusive offer ever,’ said Isis Ruiz, chief growth officer. ‘We wanted them to have a chance to plan their getaways while with their loved ones during the holidays, giving everyone something to look forward to.’
The 60% off for the second passenger deal is available now through Jan. 31.
And the bar tab is available for Scarlet Lady voyages Dec. 18, 2022 to Dec. 27, 2023; Valiant Lady Dec. 17, 2022 to Dec. 30, 2023; Resilient Lady May 14, 2023 to March 15, 2024; and Brilliant Lady Dec. 24 – 30, 2023.
‘It’s a great, great value offer,’ said John Diorio, VP North American sales, fresh off the line’s first global sales meeting in a couple years with Ruiz last week on Scarlet Lady and with the First Mates Soiree for top-selling travel advisors to sail Jan. 4 on Valiant Lady.
No-restrictions bar tab
Diorio said a bar tab offer in November resonated, sparking sales. Also, he pointed out there are no restrictions on purchases with the bar tab.
‘If you want to have that great dining experience and buy that $100 or $150 bottle of wine, you can now do that. If you want that $5 Heineken, you can get 60 of them, or three Shake for Champagnes,‘ Diorio said. ‘The beauty of our bar tab is that it gives flexibility without all those restrictions and rules.’
Free drinks go on top of Virgin’s inclusive pricing which covers all dining venues, Wi-Fi, gratuities and basic beverages.
‘You start adding all that up, there’s a tremendous value in sailing with us,’ Diorio said. ‘And now including up to $600 in drinks only increases that value.’
No NCFs, commission on all pre-voyage sales
It helps first mates sell. And Virgin Voyages’ permanent policy is no NCFs, with 16% base commission plus 10% pay for all pre-voyage sales — items like bar tabs, shore things (excursions), hotel and air bookings.
When sailors buy any extras before the cruise, even booking those on their own on the app, first mates still get commission.
New LetsGoBook functionality to come
Usage of the new LetsGoBook tool, rolled out in September, grows by the week, Diorio said.
Advisors who promote Virgin Voyages via social media or email can send a link to their customers, who then can book online at their convenience. The first mate gets credit and the booking goes immediately into their account to service it.
More LetsGoBook functionality is coming. Currently the link leads to a landing page that shows all voyages. Next, first mates will be able to share a link to a specific sailing. Other future tweaks will let advisors send clients to a particular destination or ship.
Australia/New Zealand 2023/24
Following its inaugural season in the Greek Isles/Adriatic Sea in 2023, the newly delivered Resilient Lady is heading Down Under. The repositioning sailings from Piraeus to Dubai, Dubai to Singapore and Singapore to Sydney are nearly sold out.
The subsequent shorter December-January cruises cater to locals. And then in January to March, more comprehensive nine-, 10- and 11-night itineraries are expected to entice long-haul markets.
‘The Virgin brand plays very well in the Australia-New Zealand market,’ Diorio said. ‘It’s got great brand recognition down there. As a company, we want to bring our beautiful ships all over the world, and if you’ve never done Australia-New Zealand, there’s no better way to do it.’
Ongoing education about the onboard experience
Virgin Voyages has overcome challenges including launching in the pandemic, and now it’s winning awards. Diorio’s focus is ongoing education with first mates about the onboard experience and getting more of them on the ships to see for themselves this ‘high premium experience without the formality and stuffiness.’
For advisors, it’s a product that pays dividends, he said: ‘When we get sailors onboard, they’re having an amazing experience,’ as reflected in satisfaction scores, ‘and almost 50% of them are putting down a deposit for their next voyage.’