River cruise giant targets agents

Viking combines capacity and marketing, and lures agents

Viking River Cruises is launching six new 190-passenger “longships” this year and six more in 2013. The company’s chairman, Torstein Hagen, is confident about filling them. The company has spent more than $300 million in marketing over the last ten years and has done all it can to publicise the comparatively new phenomenon of river cruises among travel agents. The company maintains a policy against non-commissionable fees. It has also kept up a direct-mail campaign in the US using high-cost databases for sending marketing materials to potential clients. The berth prices are low.
The first four longships – Viking Odin, Viking Idun, Viking Freya and Viking Njord – were christened last week. Viking is already 88% full for 2012, Hagen claims, and is busy taking bookings for next year.
Travel Weekly
[pictured: Viking Rurik; courtesy Viking River Cruises]

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