P&O Cruises offers agents social media advice

Agents who are able to prove that social media campaigns are profitable can in the future expect to be given access to co-operative marketing budgets from the UK’s leading operator of cruise.

Last week Complete Cruise Solution, the trade arm of P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Cunard, held its first social media webinar, taking 60 agents through the potential opportunities it offers.

The operator admits it has still to properly assess the value of the channel, and has only recently created a full time social media post for the UK’s leading brand P&O Cruises.

The line’s head of brand marketing Philip Price said currently the operator’s co-operative marketing budgets go on supporting traditional newspaper display and direct marketing campaigns.

This continued reliance on traditional media has been particularly notable in the current lates campaign, Price said.

But he added he could see a time when the line would co-operate with agents in social media marketing activity as well.

“We are not yet there in terms of co-op spend for social media. With us it’s still early days, we were not the earliest of adopters. But I can easily see that co-op social media campaigns will happen,” he said. 

Agents involved in Tuesday’s webinar, held in conjunction with Travolution, were told how social media was a low cost way of engaging with their customers.

The 45-minute webinar covered blogging, Twitter and Linkedin but there was particular interest in Facebook which CCS is encouraging agents to use having set up its own pages allowing agents to interact with account managers in Southampton.

Mark Pilkington, CCS head of sales, said: “We want people to use Facebook as a business tool. There are already a number of agents that already do this very well.”

Pilkington said the agents who are monetising it best are the ones who have not actively gone out to push deals but to use it to enter a conversation with customers.

He said following the webinar he is now in contact with a number of agents trying to set themselves up on Facebook, many of whom have expressed surprise that the site does not have a helpline.

Other agents have also expressed interest in embedding some of the operator’s Youtube footage on their websites.

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