“We have so many opportunities to improve our knowledge” - cruise specialist, Emma Otter, discusses the importance of our supplier relationships

Emma Otter has been a Travel Counsellor since 2017, and during this time she’s specialised in the cruise market. She’s the currently ‘Culinary Champion’ for Celebrity Cruises, meaning she was recently invited to speak on their podcast.

Emma Otter

We spoke to Emma to find out more about her relationship with Celebrity Cruises, why she values the close-knit relationships we have with suppliers, and how working with a wide range of brands has helped her grow her business and provide the best levels of service to her customers.

Hi Emma! How did the podcast opportunity with Celebrity Cruises come about?

TTG and Celebrity Cruises ran a competition for travel agents to compete to become one of their ‘Champions’. I love Celebrity and love their incredible dining options on board. Plus, I’m always asked about the food by my customers, so I competed against 100 other agents to become their ‘Culinary Champion’!

Tell us a bit more about what being Culinary Champion involves

As part of my prize, I was lucky enough to spend a week on the beautiful Celebrity Edge, sailing out of Barcelona for a glorious week around the Med. During this cruise, I sampled the food in every speciality dining venue, enjoyed the four amazing main dining restaurants, and even enjoyed my birthday on board, with a cheese and wine pairing event. I’ve been asked to continue my role as Culinary Champion in 2024 too, so I’ll be visiting the wonderful Celebrity Apex as she arrives in Southampton in May for her inaugural season sailing from the UK. Not only have I enjoyed being on board, but I was also invited to the TTG awards, have been a special guest on the ‘Celebrity Moments’ podcast, and will be enjoying some social media training with Celebrity and TTG too!

Why do you love the Celebrity Cruises brand?

Celebrity Cruises showcases the very best in 5* cruising, with their multi-award-winning ships, longer stays in port to maximise the time at each destination, and of course their world class food! It’s also great to have the support and help from our wonderful Celebrity Cruises Sales Manager, Michael.

How would you describe the relationships that Travel Counsellors have with suppliers?

It’s all about collaboration, with our support hub colleagues working hard to grow and develop relationships to ensure that each Travel Counsellor can grow their business with the support from each supplier. We have so many opportunities to improve our knowledge thanks to incredible training platforms (both online and in-person), ship visits, and fam trips.

As an independent business owner, why are strong supplier relationships important to you and your customers?

I have a great personal relationship with a number of key partners. They’ve taken the time to learn about my business and understand what I need from them to grow my business and look after my customers. I love that cruising is an industry where price parity is strong, so our partners can be assured of our support and that we don’t discount their product for direct bookings. Our suppliers understand the strong, personal relationships we have with our customers and are always on hand to help us grow, attend customer events, and deal with any questions we may have about their products.

It’s been great chatting to you, Emma! Finally, can you describe some of the opportunities you’ve had as a Travel Counsellor thanks to our supplier relationships?

Where do I start?! I started to grow my cruise business after attending the CLIA (Cruise Line Association) Conference, included as part of my initial training with Travel Counsellors. I attend this annual event often, visiting ships, attending seminars, and meeting with key partners whilst there. I have benefitted from so many ship visits, where agents are able to experience a ship for the day. We have the opportunity to look at a selection of cabins and entertainment venues, and enjoy a delicious meal on board!

I love being able to attend familiarisation trips too, enjoying educational cruises and seminars on board ships with numerous partners, including Celebrity, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Virgin Voyages! Experiencing these different brands for myself has been invaluable because I’ve been able to understand what each brand can offer for my customers.

Would you like to join a travel franchise where personal relationships with suppliers are truly valued? We’re proud to provide an almost endless amount of products that you can offer your customers in our online booking platform, Phenix – which is a testament to the trusted relationships we’ve built with suppliers all around the world. Ready to be part of our caring community? Get in touch about becoming a Travel Counsellor and let us open you up to a world of opportunities.

Ready to join the family?

Talk to our supportive team about becoming a Travel Counsellor.

Contact Us