Published on Friday, December 18, 2015

Costa Cruises to become direct sell

Costa Cruises has confirmed that it will no longer sell through UK travel agents from February 2016.

It said that it is 'introducing a different business model' for the UK that will see all passenger bookings made directly through its website and calls centre.

"Customers are becoming increasingly savvy with booking travel online and Costa are able to process all sales through their online platforms if required," it said.

"We believe that a direct sales model, for the type of market the UK represents for us and for the digital behaviour of the UK customer, is the best way to serve the needs of the market moving forward. "

The cruise line said its UK operations would be handled by a single, dedicated team based in Costa's head office in Genoa from February 15.

It is the only oversees market that will be managed in this way.

The cruise line said that it will honour all 2016 bookings made travel agents in the UK and these bookings will continue to be managed by those agencies with the support of Costa Cruises' customer services team.

As a result of the change, UK general manager Shaun Lyons will leave the company at the end of this month but no other staff will be afected. Since 2011, Costa's UK operations have been managed through European offices so there will be no change or disruption to its booking process or customer service, it said.

Costa insisted it had no plans to leave the UK market and the change will not affect sister Carnival brands.


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