Posts Tagged ‘ships’

The next great wave

Online cruise travel bookings

Internet Usage to Book Online Cruise TravelThe 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.

Sources: Comscore


Adding learning based courses to the on-board itinerary

How about learning Spanish, how to cook a traditional Jamaican dish or the history of the Caribe Indians from a tenured University professor?  Based on the results of a recent survey, cruise lines might do well by adding specific learning based courses to on-board itineraries.

From cooking and fitness to theatre and the arts to fashion and spectator sports, the survey found that personal interests are key drivers in vacation decisions. A few interesting facts about travels:

  • 87% indicate that personal interests drive the majority of their vacation plans
  • 60% say the stronger they feel about a passion, the further they've traveled for it
  • 57% are willing to travel any distance to explore their personal interests
  • 36% said they wouldn't consider a vacation destination that doesn't help them fulfill at least one personal passion

Vacations that incorporate personal passions also tend to be longer by almost double the number of days compared to those trips that do not include personal interests (16 days versus 9), more frequent (6 trips versus 3), and more expensive ($3,900 versus $2,400).

What are the most popular travel passions?

  • Culinary Interests: A growing number of travelers are inspired by the desire to expand their culinary horizons. In fact, 42% said that culinary factors, including the ability to try new cuisine and indulge in truly exotic/native dishes, were extremely/very important to their travel choices. This was particularly true among the younger respondents (18-34 year-olds).
  • Sporting Events: 28% have traveled to attend a sporting event.
  • Adventure: 25% have taken a vacation in pursuit of adventure and thrill from hiking to whitewater rafting.
  • Music: 21% have taken a vacation that included attending concerts and/or music festivals.
  • Educational travel: More than 15% reported traveling to delve deeper into the history and/or culture of a particular destination.

UPDATE:  Click here to see Luxury Cruise Line Siverseas educational itinerary, here if you are a stock or commodity investor and here for a Jazz cruise.

UPDATE (2):  I keep seeing more and more on this subject, and apparently it has a name: "edutainment."  Read this excellent cruise talk central article about Holland America,

Source: June 2008 American Express Travel Survey

The Cruise Community – Who is this site for?

Who could benefit from this web site?  Almost anyone interested in marketing and research. Sustainable growth and development of consumer markets is a delicate balance of both art and science.  But more than that, it is a systematic process of identifying and maximizing business potential by meeting consumers conscious and subconscious needs.  That systematic process can be applied over and over for any industry.

The cruise industry itself is vastly larger than just the ships we observe in ports of call. It includes:

  • Cruise Lines
  • Advertising Agencies
  • Travel Agencies and Agents
  • Stockholders
  • Industry Analysts
  • Trade Associations
  • Cruise customers
  • Travel and Tourism Colleges and Universities
  • Ship Builders
  • Employees
  • Ancillary Industries
    • Vendors
    • Suppliers
    • Transportation services
    • Retailers
    • Ports
    • Destination cities and countries