Guy A. Young is president of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, headquartered in Los Angeles, offering cruise itineraries in Europe, China, India and other destinations. In this shakedown, we asked Guy about how river cruising can work for incentive travel. Here’s what he had to say.
Cruising is at an all-time high in popularity among consumers. Is it making a comeback as an incentive travel option?
Cruising, including river cruising, has never been more popular among consumers, and we’re finding a growing market in incentive travel clients as well. One of the big factors that makes river cruising in particular an ideal option for incentive travel is that the ships are small and intimate, which makes it very easy for incentive groups to spend quality time together. In fact, at Uniworld, we have found that chartering our ships outright provides some companies a convenient option, as we have an average capacity of 130 guests onboard. Therefore, chartering is well within the reach of many companies and lends itself to a truly special event.
How can organizers personalize their group’s river cruise experience?
It’s very important that the incentive trip be a one-of-a-kind experience for participants. In a charter situation, event organizers have maximum freedom to customize the experience for the group, but you don’t have to charter one of our cruise ships to deliver a personalized experience for attendees because that’s part of what we provide anyway. For example, passengers can choose excursions ranging from guided bicycle rides to exclusive wine tastings, depending on their interests.
Often, cruise companies offer packages that are described as inclusive, but in reality, there’s quite a bit that is not included in the price.
What tips can you share with incentive travel planners or corporate meeting planners when it comes to setting up a cruise trip?
Incentive travel organizers need to know all of their possible expenses upfront. Often, cruise companies offer packages that are described as inclusive, but in reality, there’s quite a bit that is not included in the price. We have a fully inclusive product in Europe, which means that the price includes transfers, shore excursions, gratuities, Wi-Fi and all onboard meals and beverages, including distinctive wine and spirits and craft and local beers. This allows your budget to go further than it might on land, representing an excellent value among travel options.