First-of-its-kind analysis of almost 9,000 new-to-cruise enquiries identifies business-boosting opportunities for agents and cruise lines around the world
A new Traveltek Group Ltd survey has revealed first-time cruiser trends the Middle East travel industry can tap into if it has the right technology in place.
The first-of-its-kind analysis of 8,878 new-to-cruise enquiries made through leading agents worldwide demonstrates how cruise packaging, CRM and API tools, and more, can help agencies and cruise lines in the region leverage the growth opportunities in the first-time cruise market.
The survey, which draws on data from 2017, also compared enquiries to quotations and bookings made through Traveltek’s iSell CRM platform. At the same time, it captured practical data of the first-time cruiser profile and found the following markets offered huge growth opportunities:
Fly-cruise represented 26% of all first-time cruiser enquiries, but dropped off to just 9% of travel agency quotes, suggesting bookers were reticent to package the flight and airline components together.
Solo travellers and families
81% of enquiries and quotes were for two adults, reflecting how the cruise market needs to find ways to attract other demographics such as solo travellers and families by offering more flexible cabin pricing and configurations.
River cruising is starting to appeal to first-time cruisers, with river cruise specialist Riviera Travel featuring in the top 10 cruise lines enquired about (7th place), quoted (7th place) and booked (10th). In terms of top river cruise lines booked, Riviera Travel took the top spot across all three categories, with Avalon Waterways taking second place across all three. The remainder was split between five other river cruise specialists, suggesting these lines feature on the API when others don’t.
Africa in demand
Africa cruise itineraries were placed high on the list of top 10 destinations that first-time cruisers enquired about (6th place) but did not feature on the top 10 list of destinations quoted. This suggests either cruise lines are yet to offer many Africa itineraries or if they do, agents are not aware of them.
First-time cruisers have no preconception of favourite cabin or types
Their decisions were price-led, with 32% enquiring about inside cabins. This presents savvy agents with opportunities to use their product knowledge to upsell. Actual quotes for inside cabins declined to 26%, while quotes for cabins with balconies increased to 29% (up from 27% at enquiry point).
Cruise durations of less than 10 nights were the most popular
Itineraries of between six and nine nights dominated enquiries (35%), quotes (49%) and bookings (46%).
Following analysis of the results, the survey findings revealed several opportunities that cruise and leisure agents can leverage with the right booking tools and software at their fingertips.
Using Traveltek’s Cruise Super Itineraries (CSI) technology, for instance, agents can hand-pick flights, hotels, transfers and attractions and create tailor-made packages in just a few clicks. CSI helps source product at the point of sale and simplifies the purchasing decision.
In addition, Traveltek’s next-generation CruiseNX platform, launched last year, enables agents to book multiple cabins in one booking journey, making it easier to book a cruise for a family. It also has powerful filter options by price, cabin type, cruise line benefits and other criteria including destinations, such as Africa.
River cruise lines have a significant opportunity to capture the first-time cruiser market and convert enquiries to bookings if they improve their visibility using Traveltek’s API. At the same time, Traveltek is the only company offering agents river cruise search and booking technology and using the API, they can source plenty of content options too.
“Our global survey demonstrates how Traveltek is uniquely positioned to track the behaviour of first-time cruisers, identifying top trends that can help agents and cruise lines in the Middle East capitalise on the potential of this lucrative market and convert more enquiries to bookings,” said Francis Riley, Senior Vice President Sales, Traveltek Group Ltd.
“It also proves that the technology is now available to curate the cruise products and packages that first-timer cruisers want, making it simpler than ever before for them to purchase fly-cruise, family cruises, river cruises and alternative destinations and itineraries.”