Posted By Cruise Market Watch / 13th September 2008
Our monthly Cruise Search reflects change in demand and online market share. U.S. online cruise search is currently estimated at 9.4 million monthly unique individuals. Cruise Search shrank vs. both the previous month and August of last year. This indicates continued tempering in online activity likely based on the economic conditions faced by travelers.
||% Change Aug '08
||vs Last Year
||vs. Last Month
|Total Internet Traffic
|Total Cruise Search
Percentages in the charts below represent the approximate share of all online cruise traffic.
Chart 1 - % of traffic for top Cruise Lines from all cruise related traffic (click to enlarge)
Chart 2 - % of traffic for top booking sites from all cruise related traffic (click to enlarge)
Sources: Google Trends, Comscore
Posted By Cruise Market Watch / 7th September 2008
Web 2.0 is linking people.
Cruise 2.0 is linking cruisers to booking agents, travel discounters, reviews (by actual cruisers not professional critics) and self-created travel blogs. Where is it going?
The article "Understanding the Psyche of Tomorrow's Travellers" states future cruisers “have grown up in an era where computers and rapid communication are the norm, where landline telephones are considered a waste of space as they live on their cell phones and communicate via texting…prospective college roommates have already checked each other out on social networking sites, where they have shared their most personal thoughts with the whole world.”
The trend is already picking up considerable momentum. A recent article from Theodore Koumelis "Web 2.0 playing big role in decision process" states "research conducted in August 2008 by Prophis Research with online US adults has shown that, when compared with a range of offline and online sources for travel decision-making, Internet sources are largely seen to be near the top of the list."
I envision a cruise ship version of classmates.com. Select the line, ship and date. Proudly receive a “badge” (an electronic version of state stickers RV vacationers place on their vehicles). This automatically invites you to link to all others who were passengers on the same ship – opening communication channels to facilitate discussions, share photos, blogs, videos etc., Additionally, this would be a multilingual site (as another Koumelis article importantly points out) to facilitate the expansive international cruise and online growth.
The website would facilitate communication about:
- who else was on your cruise ship at the same time as you?
- what they thought of the experience, or what other cruises they would recommend?
- where they booked their travel or what they paid for the same trip?
- What they recommend for on-board and offshore activities?
- Ever meet someone on-board you want to get into contact with but don’t know how to find them?
- Ever want to contact someone who cruised a specific ship to ask a question (how about what it was like on the Carnival Miracle that left New York City on Aug. 29 (click here for story)?
Yes, there are cruise groups on other sites, facebook, flickr, etc., and yes there are cruise review sites, CruiseCritic, Cruisemates.com etc., However, in the ever evolving world of the web there are always opportunities to bring the next viral application to the market.
I would like to hear you thoughts. Please post your opinion.
Posted By Cruise Market Watch / 10th August 2008
Online cruise travel bookings
The chart to the left shows the percentage of cruisers who use the Internet to contact a travel agent. I saw Internet growth figures like these in the late 1990's for usage of the Internet for news. Today the number is well past 70%.
Travel agents and cruise lines also need to avoid what airlines fell victim to: online searching for tickets helped to create a commodity like lowest price war. In fact, travelers already most frequently believe that the best prices can be found on the Internet (51%) and the assumption is even higher among non-cruiser vacationers (59%). Continued branding and building of distinctive ships and activities will be paramount to communicate it's The Line you choose for the journey, not just a transportation vehicle to sample destinations you are likely to visit again. (Side note: 80% of cruisers agree that cruise vacations are a good way to sample destinations they may wish to visit again. Click here to learn more on topic.)
Since this online booking behavior is most typical with newer and younger cruisers (the contemporary segment) it represents tremendous opportunity for growth. While Travel - Ground/Cruise accounts for 6% of all web traffic, or 11 million unique visitors, the dominant share of online traffic between the big three Cruise Lines is still very much anybody's game. See CruiseSearch for more. Whoever can do it best will capture a larger share of the online cruise booking market. The opportunity could be in integrating service functionality into the website - only 17% see websites and online travel retailers as providing the best service.
Here are some other Internet related cruise research facts:
- When choosing vacations, cruisers are influenced by multiple sources, especially destination web sites (39%) and cruise websites (28%).
- Cruisers plan trips well in advance (5.6 months) compared to non-cruisers (4.9 months) - giving them plenty of time and reasons to go online.