Land Programs: "Pre/Post and Overland demand growing"
Louis Castaigne, Global Hotel Programs Manager, and Carmen Morosan, Global Shorex Manager, discuss why demand for Land Programs is growing and how they combine shore excursions and hotel programs to create tailored Pre/Post and Overlands around the world…
Why is demand for Land Programs growing?
Carmen: Overall, guests are keen for more in-depth destination discovery – immersive experiences, more freedom to explore - some cruise lines have already adapted their itineraries accordingly through longer stays in port, including more overnight calls.
Louis: The growth in luxury, expedition and world cruises is also helping to drive demand, especially for Overlands. Another reason is the increase in long haul cruising, with more European and American cruise guests embarking cruises in Asia-Pacific, as well as Americans enjoying European cruises and vice-versa – if you travel across an ocean to another continent and have the opportunity, why not extend your cruise with a Land Program.
How does Intercruises develop Land Programs?
Louis: We are both proactive and reactive. When we receive a request from a cruise line we then work with our local teams to develop a Land Program tailored to their specific needs, ranging from sustainability and security requirements, to restaurant types and VIP venue access. Alternatively, once we know an itinerary we will proactively approach a cruise line with a proposal for a Land Program and then work with them to further customize to their needs and those of their guests.
Carmen: Since we have an existing relationship with the cruise line, understand their guests and cruise industry expectations, many of the base agreements are already in place and our role is focusing on how we tailor the program to suit the specific cruise brand. No cruise brands are the same and customization is key to ensuring guests have a truly valuable Land Program experience. Additionally, we are continuously monitoring the latest trends and developing Land Programs with these in mind.
Louis: It also helps that we could be the port agent, turnaround and/or shorex operator for the cruise line, which enables greater continuity and consistency in service, operations and communication. This is especially true for Land Programs across multiple countries, where the guest is with us from the moment they disembark the ship in one country, until they embark again in the next port in another country.
Why should cruise guests book a Land Program with a cruise line?
Carmen: Quality is guaranteed – a cruise guest will have become accustomed to the standard of service and product delivered during a cruise, so a Land Program organized with a cruise line ensures continuity and that the Land Program is truly an extension of the cruise vacation, as opposed to another experience tagged on the end of a cruise.
Louis: From a logistics perspective you also have to consider that everything is organized by one company and this makes the service much smoother. The guest does not need to worry about how they get to their next destination, how to move their luggage, what payments may need to be made, who they need to contact, etc... – it is just one continuous service.
What’s next for Land Programs?
Louis: Growth will continue and I expect future Land Programs to be longer duration and more comprehensive. Society continues to change in ways that enables people to travel more and this, coupled with a growing desire from people to experience more as they travel, can only support the ongoing growth of Land Programs.
Carmen: I agree that growth will continue and expect we will see more cruise packages that involve a significant amount of time ashore. We will also see more themed land programs, whether it is cultural, religious or culinary experiences, or perhaps activities related to specific festivals in the destination. Customization is key and as we integrate technology more in our operations we will be able to tailor Land Program packages for each individual, where they will be able to add a specific ticket (to a venue or show) or create a reservation at a restaurant – I think this will happen in the very near future. There is a whole world out there to explore and if you can enable guests to do that, while maintaining the standard of service delivered on a cruise ship, then you have a magnificent vacation offering.