Fly-cruise packages represent 26 percent of all inquiries from first-time cruisers, but only 9 percent of travel agency quotes. That’s according to new research from UK-based travel technology company Traveltek, which says that the drop off could suggest that travel agents were reticent to package the flight and airline components together.
Traveltek based its analysis on 8,878 new-to-cruise inquiries made through travel agents worldwide, with the aim of demonstrating how cruise packaging, CRM and API tools and more can help travel agencies and cruise lines 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, in addition to fly-cruise, offered huge growth opportunities:
Solo travelers and families: 81 percent of inquiries and quotes were for two adults, reflecting how the cruise market needs to find ways to attract other demographics, such as solo travelers and families, by offering more flexible cabin pricing and configurations, Traveltek said.
River cruising: River cruising is starting to appeal to first-time cruisers, with river cruise specialist Riviera Travel featuring in the top 10 cruise lines asked about (7th place), quoted (7th place) and booked (10th). In terms of top river cruise lines booked, Riviera Travel took the top slot 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, according to Traveltek.
Africa in demand: Africa cruise itineraries were placed high on the list of top 10 destinations that first-time cruisers inquired 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 Traveltek said.
First-time cruisers have no preconception of favorite cabin or types: Their decisions were price-led, with 32 percent inquiring about inside cabins. This presents savvy agents with opportunities to use their product knowledge to upsell, Traveltek said. Actual quotes for inside cabins declined to 26 percent, while quotes for cabins with balconies increased to 29 percent (up from 27 percent at the point of inquiry).
Cruise durations of less than 10 nights were the most popular: Itineraries of between six and nine nights dominated inquiries (35%), quotes (49%) and bookings (46%).