Opening “Water-Tight” doors

The client: Buzz Portugal.

The issue: Buzz Portugal was eager to gain Shore Excursion and Turnaround business from the cruise industry, but wasn’t even being given the opportunity to bid on the business.  His name wasn’t known in the business, nor did he have any other cruise clients.  They just couldn’t get their toe through the “Water-Tight” doors.

The process: Buzz Portugal was a part of a larger initiative for a large conglomerate called Kuoni, DMC.  They were just one branch (not wholly owned), who wanted access to the lucrative (or maybe not) cruise contracts in Portugal.  I mention this because Buzz is the success story.  Their counterparts were unsuccessful in their quest and there are clear reasons why.

  • The General Manager for Buzz Portugal, Rui Calapez, was hungry for the business

He wanted the business at whatever the cost.  He believed that to break into the industry, he only needed one contract.  As long as he broke even, he was happy to have the business.

  • Rui placed no stipulations around Access Cruise, letting us do what we do best

He didn’t care which cruise line he got as long as he had one!  All he needed was the opportunity.  He let Access Cruise work out where the low hanging fruit was.

  • Rui provided a clear goal

The goal was easy.  Secure a cruise contract.  He gave us his pricing, his margins, and his rock bottom price.  Then…he gave Access Cruise the leverage to complete the negotiations for him.

  • Rui listened

When the cruise lines asked for pricing in US dollars, he gave it to them.  He didn’t provide it in Euros because that was what was convenient for him.   He didn’t want me to ask them again if he could provide it in another currency.  It is important to follow the cruise line’s process.

  • Rui communicated…often

Cruise lines are impatient.  They want the information immediately.  Days or weeks just won’t cut it.  Cruise lines are a 24/7 business that run 365 days of the year.  Rui understood this and was able to respond within hours or give an acceptable timeline.  Not answering is the worst thing you could do!

It sounds so simple, but one wrong step and that door closes again.  The first step in the process was for Access Cruise to get one of cruise lines to open its doors.  The next step is engagement, listening and delivering.  Rui stepped up to the plate.  All the divisions got the same opportunity, but only Rui was successful.

Breaking into the industry is not only making a few connections, but following the process, communicating, delivering on target, as well as understanding the business model.  Essentially it is a partnership between Access Cruise and you.  You know your business.  We know the cruise business.

The outcome: Buzz Portugal won two contracts in the first year.  He was able to secure the Shore Excursion business for Holland America and the Turnaround business for Royal Caribbean.  After a successful season with Holland America and Royal Caribbean, he was then also awarded the business for Seabourn and Pullmantur.  With some cruise experience now under his belt, he continues to have new opportunities available to them with multiple cruise companies.

With Buzz Portugal’s dedication securing the business and Access Cruise’s connections and insights, Rui has been able to make the cruise market a meaningful portion of his profits.  In Rui’s own words…”Thanks a million!! Access Cruise was crucial in securing this business.”

Rui Calapez, GM Buzz Portugal

“Access Cruise has proven to be the key Buzz Portugal needed to get a foot in the Shore-X business. Their continuous work, efforts and especially professionalism and persistence has allowed Buzz Portugal to be awarded business with Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Seabourn. Their in-depth knowledge of the cruise business and priceless recommendations has made Buzz Portugal a key player in Portugal.”