As the Australian cruise industry continues to enjoy significant growth, the country’s leading cruise line P&O Cruises has announced its new P&O Conferences division to increase corporate bookings as it heads into the meetings and incentives market.
The decision comes on the back of the cruise line’s decision to expand its fleet from three to five ships, with the addition of the new vessels, Pacific Eden and Pacific Aria expected in November this year.
Speaking at the 23rd Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME), P&O cruises director of sales, Ryan Taibel, said the fleet expansion would pave the way to more onboard meetings.
“The addition of the two ships will expand the cruise line’s itinerary offerings with 40 per cent of cruises sailing for two to five nights, making it ideal for meetings.
“It will also enable P&O Cruises to offer cruises from ports around the country including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Cairns, with Singapore and Auckland sailings also available,” Mr Taibel said.
Currently, Australia boasts the fastest growing cruise market in the world, seeing an average growth of 20 per cent per year for the past 11 years, and a whopping 150 per cent increase over the past five years.
The new P&O Conferences division is targeting 12,000 meeting delegates for 2016 and Mr Taibel said the cruise line has already seen an increase in meeting bookings for 2015.
“Cruising in Australia is booming and in the same way that we have established ourselves as a leading holiday option for travellers, we want cruising to be high on the consideration list for the nation’s meeting organisers.”
Currently the only cruise line to have a dedicated conference team based in Australia, P&O Cruises’ Conference division is led by senior sales manager Rebecca Mutanen and recently welcomed former Luna Park account executive Christopher Rich to the role of corporate groups executive.
Making the announcement at AIME in Melbourne this week, the cruise line has also released a 48 page conference brochure, showcasing the facilities, features and benefits of hosting a meeting at sea, including packages and competitive pricing.
“A three night meeting on land including all group extras costs around AUD $1,059 per delegate, compared to AUD $906 for a cruise with added extras, so you don’t have to look hard to see that cruising is a compelling option for your next meeting” Ms Mutanen said.
Furthermore, Ms Mutanen emphasised that its not only the pricing that is attractive to organisers, but the flexibility and integration of business and leisure onboard.
“Every organiser wants to do something different and memorable, and with plenty of leisure and entertainment offerings available in between business session, cruising is a great option which delivers a real ‘wow’ factor.”