Cruise booking station to open soon-A A +A
Friday, March 1, 2013
TO allow seamless booking transactions for their Islands Banca Cruises business, The Islands Group will be setting up a booking facility this month.
The booking station will be set up along Archbishop Reyes Ave. in front of the Islands Stay Hotel. This will be manned by trained trip specialists who will sit down with guests to plan their island-hopping activities.
The establishment of the new facility was spurred by the growing number of island-hopping bookings that include birthday celebrations, pre-nuptial photo shoots, children’s parties and family reunions, said Jonathan Jay Aldeguer, chief executive officer of The Islands Group.
He said they felt that many of these inquiries need face-to-face planning so the booking station will be the “perfect venue” for their customers to explain their needs.
Aldeguer noted there are two things that prompted them to open up the facility: the potential of Islands Banca Cruises, which has been growing fast in the recent years, and the need to pave the way for other types of tour and travel bookings.
Islands Banca Cruises average over 2,000 bookings annually. This already includes outsourced boats when they are fully booked, especially during weekends. Summer is considered the peak season for Islands Banca, although they are almost fully booked every weekend.
Aside from being the venue to plan and pay for the island-hopping activities, the booking station will serve as a pick-up point for guests using their shuttle to the port.
Aldeguer said once they have perfected the booking station, they will replicate this in other parts of Cebu and Davao where they offer Islands Banca services. Soon they will also set up the facility in Palawan.
The company also plans to put in place satellite booking stations in some of their strategically located stores nationwide, particularly in places where there is dense foot traffic or in tourist spots where they are the only ones present.
Aldeguer said airlines, hotels and money remittance companies have already started talking to them about the plan, which will also carry other Islands-related products and non-Islands products and services.
The booking station will also be offering other Islands Signature tours in the future, he said.
More than boosting the tourism portfolio of their business and brand, Island Banca Cruises was established “to enhance the visitor experience in Cebu,” Aldeguer said.
The business came about five years ago because visitors were looking for new offerings and new things to do aside from the usual tourist spots and tours.
“For the Islands Group, Islands Banca has helped reinforce the brand’s image of fun, innovation and customer-driven outlook. Islands Banca Cruises has also opened doors for us in terms of the tours business, something you will see in the next couple of years,” Aldeguer said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 02, 2013.