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

 

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