Incentive cruises become a growing trend for ‘all-in-one’ experiences

CruiseWorld Indonesia 2023: MICE planners in the country are seeing a steady rise in demand for incentive cruises.

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Speakers at CruiseWorld Indonesia 2023’s ‘Upskill to Upsell: Making Cruise Selling a Breeze’ panel: Travel Weekly Asia’s Xinyi Liang-Pholsena, Panorama JTB Tours Indonesia’s Hellen Xu, Samasta Tour & Travel’s Teguh Basuki, Royal Caribbean International’s Robby Kartadinata and Travel Weekly Asia’s Irene Chua.

Incentive cruises are gaining traction among Indonesian MICE planners as corporate groups seek unique and immersive experiences, according to industry speakers at CruiseWorld Indonesia 2023. The event, recently held in Jakarta and hosted by Travel Weekly Asia, shed light on the rising interest in cruise incentives in the Indonesian market.

Robby Kartadinata, senior sales manager at Multi Alam Bahari Internasional, the Indonesian representative for Royal Caribbean International, shared insights into the growing demand. "We are witnessing an increase in inquiries for incentive cruises, catering to groups ranging from 50 to 5,000 participants. Over the past year, we have successfully hosted two incentive groups," Kartadinata stated.

The appeal of cruises lies in their fixed price and value for money, making them an attractive option for MICE groups. Delegates can enjoy an all-inclusive package that encompasses meals, activities, and entertainment, Kartadinata added. Additionally, full ship charters provide MICE groups with unparalleled flexibility, allowing them to customise their programmes from top to bottom.

Hellen Xu, CEO of Panorama JTB Tours Indonesia, emphasised the importance of offering diverse destinations and novel products to corporate groups. Implementing a "mix and match" strategy that alternates between cruises and new destinations can be an enticing incentive idea, Xu noted.

Furthermore, Xu shared that corporate clients interested in cruises are often from the finance, insurance, and automotive sectors.

Teguh Basuki, CEO of Samasta Tour & Travel, observed a shift in the size of corporate incentives, with numbers decreasing to around 30 participants compared to the pre-pandemic average of 100 participants.

Basuki explained that the fear of missing out (FOMO) plays a role in the decision-making process. Sharing incentive trips on social media creates a perception of a thriving post-pandemic company, leading decision-makers to follow suit.

Experts predict that cruising will continue to grow in popularity for corporate groups due to FOMO.

Teguh highlighted emerging MICE markets in cities like Makassar and Semarang, in addition to Jakarta and Surabaya. However, challenges in air connectivity between these secondary cities and regional cruise hubs, such as Singapore, remain a concern for agents.