An Interview with Emerald Waterways

first_imgTravel Professional NEWS® speaks with Lisa Norton, Vice President of Brand Management, Emerald Waterways  With 2017 upon us, what new things can we expect to see this year? 
Emerald Waterways will be launching three new Star-Ships in 2017, the Emerald Destiny on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers; the Emerald Radiance on the Douro River and the Emerald Liberté that will sail Southern France on the Rhône and Saône rivers.  We’re really excited to be almost doubling our capacity in just 4 years of operation. What do you expect to be your most popular ships in 2017?
 
We don’t really expect to have a “most popular” ship per se, as all of our ships are identical in amenities, cabin sizes, and service.  The Emerald Liberté and the Emerald Radiance are different in that they’re smaller due to the restrictions of the rivers – the Emerald Liberté will carry just 138 guests while the Emerald Radiance will carry just 112.  The amenities on the Emerald Liberté will be identical to the other ships while the Emerald Radiance will vary slightly due to its smaller size. What do you expect to be your most popular itineraries in 2017?
 
The Douro River itinerary is clearly our most popular as it is already almost completely sold out for 2017 – this is partly due to the fact that with its smaller size there is less capacity but I believe it’s also because Portugal is seeing resurgence in interest. Of course the Danube River is always very popular, particularly for first time river cruisers. With Travel Professionals on the rise, will you be offering any new training or incentives for Travel Professionals to focus on your line?
We are updating our Emerald Specialist online training program where Travel Professionals can go to become certified to sell Emerald Waterways.  Once they become certified and make a booking they will receive a gift card as a token of our appreciation.  We are also working on the launch of an Emerald Waterways rewards program where points will be awarded for bookings and can be redeemed for a variety of items.  We expect to see this launched in the 2nd quarter of this year.  Our Regional Sales Managers are all focused on providing training to travel professionals – if anyone is uncertain who their local Sales Manager is, this can be found in our agent portal on our website. What three things do you feel set your product apart from the competition?
 Onboard amenities that include a heated indoor/outdoor swimming pool that converts to a cinema in the evening on all ships, with the exception of the Emerald RadianceA cohesive, happy staff and crew who work hard to please our guests and return year after year, ensuring smooth sailing from season to season.A fully inclusive fare which still allows for customization – all the key components of the tour are included – transfers; tours in each port; special excursions with EmeraldPLUS; beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; personal listening devices while on tours; all English speaking staff and crew; all gratuities on and off the ship!  Additional tours, drinks packages, health and wellness packages are available for purchase.There has been a big increase in active River Cruising, what activities are currently being offered on your line? What may be next?
 
In 2017 we will be expanding our EmeraldACTIVE program with included guided biking or hiking tours.  These include a bike tour along the banks of the Danube between Melk and Dürnstein in the wine-growing region of the Wachau Valley or a hike to the ruins of Wertheim Castle in Bavaria.  In 2018 we will expand to even more offerings including a guided bike tour in Amsterdam, a guided hike to a local winery in Rüdesheim, and a guided hike to Ivanovo Church in Silistra, Bulgaria, to name a few. What generational market do you see your line focusing on as the capacity continues to grow? Do you have plans to focus on any specific market segment of River Cruise passengers?
 
We continue to focus on the same core demographic of river cruisers with the 50+ market.  However, I think that the younger age group of the 40 plus has caught on to how great river cruising is and that’s it not just for the older folks!  We are seeing many younger travellers combining their European holidays with a river cruise that are looking for more active pursuits on board and offshore.  We are trying to make sure that what Emerald Waterways has to offer suits both this active set as well as the traditional river cruiser, again making value and choice two hallmarks of our brand. Many of the Rivers in Europe are being said to be a bit crowded, what are your plans to overcome that? Are there new itineraries and or destinations that you are looking into?This really is a bit of a misconception.  The rivers are well orchestrated by the individual river authorities, who schedule who will dock where and when.  While there are a lot of ships on the river it never feels really congested on the river.  Where you might feel more of the congestion is at the popular tourist attractions but this is due not only to river cruisers but to the general tourist population.  What is important is the scheduling of included tours so as to avoid the largest crowds.  If someone really wants to avoid the crowds, the best time to go is in the earlier months of March – May or later in the year in October or November. What three things would you like to share with our Travel Professionals to assist in selling your line?The most important thing a Travel Professional can do is to go on a river cruise.  Until you experience river cruising it’s difficult to understand why it’s the most relaxing, fulfilling way to experience the small towns and villages in the countries you visit. Many Travel Professionals have found their niche in River Cruising, what advice can you offer to a Travel Professional looking to break into this niche?
 
The most important thing a Travel Professional can do is to go on a river cruise.  Until you experience river cruising it’s difficult to understand why it’s the most relaxing, fulfilling way to experience the small towns and villages in the countries you visit.  The ease of unpacking once for a minimum of seven nights will sell most people.  Second to that is to get testimonials from your clients that have gone river cruising, pick their brains about why they loved it so much – their enthusiasm will be contagious.  There is a river cruise line for every traveler and it’s important to know your client and which line best fits their needs.  The biggest mistake can be to assume that one brand fits all so the more the Travel Professional educates themselves on what each line offers and who they cater to the easier it will be to sell or off-sell to the better client fit. Predicting the future is difficult, but what do you think is next for the River Cruising market? 
I do think that river cruise operators will be looking to new rivers, whether it’s Southeast Asia, South America or India, for example.  One day, hopefully soon, travelers will be ready to go back to Egypt.  I believe you will see interest build to experience all that Egypt has to offer.  I believe the trend towards river cruising with younger travelers will continue as will the trend for family oriented departures.last_img read more

Bonobos Delivers with Its New Organic Chinos – In An Improved Skinny

first_imgThe brand that makes your favorite chinos has done it again – Bonobos is introducing yet another phenomenal-fitting pair of men’s chinos made for every occasion this spring, summer 7 beyond. The launch of the Bonobos Stretch Organic Cotton Chino, now in a new skinny fit for those who prefer a “European” fit option, could signal the arrival of your new favorite chinos to wear to the office and on the weekend. It only makes sense that a brand founded on the idea that men need better-fitting pants continues to expand to give guys multiple fit options, and multiple is putting it lightly. Bonobos now offers nearly 300 size and fit combinations across the board. As Bonobos says, they’re seeking to be the only brand to serve up “a chino for every occasion.”“Anytime we set out to develop a new product, there are two main things we think about: The needs of our customers, and how we can continue to evolve our promise on fit and product innovation,” said Bonobos Senior Director of Merchandising Kate Fulk. “The launch of the Stretch Organic Cotton Chino introduces our first foray into a skinny fit, something we heard customers inquiring about as well as the sustained success of our tailored fit pant.”And that works more than fine for us – Bonobos chinos can be worn with everything from a white slub tee and canvas high-top sneakers to a classic navy blazer and a white Oxford shirt.  In the case of the Stretch Organic Cotton Chinos, (which you can also get in Tailored, Slim or Athletic fits), it’s the durable construction that makes them so versatile. These come in a blend of organic cotton twill (increasingly important in the menswear world) and elastane for ease of movement. At only $68, they’re a steal for their utility, and the fit should more than accommodate guys who want a sleeker look – they feature a leg opening that’s one-and-a-half inches slimmer than the brand’s Tailored fit. The use of durable cotton twill makes them at once old-school (similar fabric has been used in chinos for decades), and yet also casual and modern . Again, see our directive to wear them with a crisp white tee or a denim shirt and suede chukka boots. Sizes for the Stretch Organic Cotton Chinos also run up to a size 40 waist; it would seem that Bonobos really has thought of everything when it comes to making a pair of chinos you can live in all summer and beyond. Editors’ Recommendations $68 from Bonobos 9 Best Spirits For Spiked Apple Cider How Full Harvest and Misfits Market Are Saving Ugly Produce center_img Vanderhall’s 2020 Carmel GT Is a Race-Ready, 3-Wheel Go-Kart Get Acquainted With the Military-Approved Skincare Brand Bravo Sierra Why Your Desk Chair Matters and the 9 Best Ones to Boost Your Productivitylast_img read more

GECOM Chair will have to make a decision – Jagdeo

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has been circling around distant timelines among other factors, which have influenced their inability to announce a date for elections. But Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has asserted that Chairperson, retired Justice Claudette Singh will have to rise above these inhibitions and make that very important decision.This was the position he shared on Friday, as he recognised that the GECOM Chair must be in a very difficult position of having to consider every possibility before making an announcement. He stated that she is fixed in a position where Government Commissioners are pushing to stall the process while the technical advisors are presenting protracted timelines.He expressed, “I’m trying to picture the job of the Chairperson…It must be very difficult for her to find an accommodation because I’m sure she doesn’t want to dismiss their concerns just like that….At some point in time, she will have to make the tough decision, which is, we are going to respect the Constitution and stop the prevaricating by the Commissioners to delay things. She has to say to the Secretariat: ‘We’re getting this done by this date. You better go and work now to ensure that the timelines fit in.’”Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoThe Opposition Leader also indicated that they retracted from protest actions to allow GECOM and its new leader to execute their functions effectively. However, the elections body is still confined by deceptive data and slothfulness.“We ended the protest for a while because we wanted to give the Chairperson an opportunity to familiarise herself with what’s going on but what you have in there is a Commission that has to overcome the legacy of the illegalities and the sloth of the past. Even now, being trapped by that activity and the misinformation,” he said.The decision on an elections date, he noted, can be achieved in a short time if all Commissioners and other staffers work with the intention of upholding the constitutional deadline. The deadline for elections is September 18, three months after the Caribbean Court of Justice’s ruling that the David Granger-led Administration toppled with the valid passing of the No-Confidence Motion.“If they put their minds to it, they can get things done quickly without compromising quality. At some point in time, she has to say that.”When asked for a date which the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is willing to accept, he responded, “We believe way before the end of the year, it is still possible.”MergerSince the announcement to merge the data gathered from the incomplete House-to-House Registration exercise, there have been reservations about the accuracy and extended timeline surrounding this activity.At a recent press conference, the Opposition Leader said that the plans to merge the data with the existing database will push the hosting of early elections to 2020. He argued that there is a much simpler way of ensuring that everyone, including new registrants, gets on the voters’ list.The Opposition Leader explained that of the 285,000 registrations that were obtained during the H2H exercise, only approximately 2000 are new registrants.As such, instead of adding the more than 280,000 registrations to the existing National Register of Registrants database which would have massive repetition, Jagdeo said GECOM should filter out those new registrants and have them re-register at their local divisions.“With this merger, the optimistic scenario is to go to Claims and Objections in November because the merger will make about three months and then elections on the 27th April, next year. So you understand this merger will not improve the database. It’s a delaying tactic once again,” he stated. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGECOM Chair: ‘I have the list, examining the names very critically’- PresidentAugust 31, 2017In “latest news”Five weeks on …President still to decide on third list of GECOM nomineesOctober 4, 2017In “latest news”GECOM Chair: President’s interpretations now invalid in face of court ruling-JagdeoSeptember 27, 2017In “latest news” read more