A new study by travel deals site Travelzoo found that almost 4 in 10 people now book their cruises on the internet.
- This is a channel traditionally led by travel agent sales, an increase of 20% over the previous year.
- The research also found that 78% go online to plan their cruise but also access some offline information when choosing their cruise.
- Another 6% of people do their research exclusively online.
3 of the top factors in deciding whether to book a cruise?
- The itinerary (27%).
- Price (26%). In fact 25% of the people polled took their first cruise because they found a good deal.
- The reputation of the cruise line. A total of 17% of the 1,400 respondents cited it as the most important factor in deciding what to book.
The industry still needs to address the perception that cruising is expensive.
- Price was cited as the greatest barrier to cruising, with 30% of respondents listing prohibitive cost as a reason for not considering a cruise holiday.
- The research found that 19% of ‘cruise virgins’ are likely or very likely to cruise over the next year.
- Only 11% of the total said they felt cruising was not for their age group.
A Travel Weekly article asked Travelzoo UK managing director Joel Brandon-Bravo to comment on the research.
Brandon-Bravo’s observation:“The increasing influence of the internet and brand reputation in the cruiser’s decision-making process demonstrates that putting in place a strong online marketing and PR strategy should be a priority for cruise operators and agents.
Cruises were one of the last segments of the travel industry in which travel agents still controlled the lion’s share of the bookings.
What does that tell us about where the industry is going, and what the future looks like for travel agents? Let us know your thoughts.