Cruise Nation launches recruitment drive

Cruise Nation has begun a recruitment drive to fill up to 10 roles across its sales and customer service teams.

Phil Evans, owner and managing director of the Swansea-based cruise specialist agency, made 60% of his staff redundant during the Covid-19 pandemic, closed the agency’s Peterborough office and switched Newcastle-based call centre staff to homeworking roles.

He said he had been left “short staffed” through the pandemic and forced to build a five-person team from scratch, employed on temporary contracts, to process customer refunds. All five staff have now been recruited full-time.

However, four weeks ago he began interviewing candidates after seeing “green shoots” of recovery, thanks to the domestic sailings programme cruise lines have offered this summer.

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In the past month, Evans has recruited two customer service staff including Rochelle Bradley, who previously worked for MSC Cruises as a business development manager.

Evans said: “We’ve identified areas we need to expand because we want to hit the ground running for January. We’re already seeing green shoots but it’s going up and down like a yo-yo.

“There’s still negativity out there impacting sales. If there’s a good [cruise] offer, it will sell well. The ex-UK sailings have gone through the roof and that’s been our bread and butter but we’re now coming to the end of the ‘seacation’ sailings.

“We’re confident that, if we bring people into the business, we’ll be in a good place soon. We’re confident we can get the people we need.”

In addition to the six sales staff and four customer positions, Evans is also looking to recruit for a marketing role and a call centre manager role. He currently has 36 staff employed across the business.

“We’ve not been marketing at all,” he said, adding that it was “a great time” to join Cruise Nation and that new staff members in sales and customer service roles would be able to work remotely.

He said there had had interest from applicants based overseas.

Asked about talented agents leaving the industry due to redundancy, he added: “It’s a worry that we won’t get the people we need, but so far we’ve done OK.

“In the last few weeks, people have become available because we’re coming towards the end of furlough and a lot of companies are not able to support their salaries.

“Every business is different. It depends on how they went into the pandemic and how they’ve been managed. Nobody has done anything wrong in terms of their business. We’re all hoping to get though this and put it behind us.”

Evans said it was “not an easy time” for cruise agents but many were readying themselves for the challenge ahead.

“It is a time to take on the challenge or be defeated,” he added. “It has been really tough but we can see light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re trying to see what talent is out there. We’re open to anything right now. If they’ve got the personality and the talent to drive the business forward, we should look at them.”

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EasyJet holidays to bolster trade sales team

Hays Travel seeking agents for 400 vacancies and 450 apprenticeships

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