The adoption of new technologies is boosting the cruise industry's bottom line, according to a new study from Amadeus and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The new study examines the impact of social media on the cruise industry and suggests that social media is making waves for agents and cruise lines. From 'Likes' to 'Leads': Cruise Agents, Social Media & the Impact of Emerging Technologies surveyed representatives at cruise lines as well as more than 1,000 cruise specialists, inquiring about their current engagement with social technologies.
The study, which was prepared by the independent research firm Schwartz Consulting Partners, also asked respondents to make predictions about their future engagement with social media.
Some of the study's key findings include:
72 percent of cruise specialists receive as many or more bookings from social media channels than agents who maintain their own Web sites.
54 percent of agencies actively use social networks to generate new business.
Almost 20 percent of agents with clients younger than 45 years old receive approximately 33 percent of their leads from social media sources.
With more than 641 million members and a 35 percent annual growth rate, Facebook has become the second largest source of Web leads for cruise specialists after Google, the study notes. Facebook business pages have been most effective for marketing and brand-building purposes, specifically, in the areas of:
-Posting offers or discounts
-Promoting new products/services
-Providing travel advice
-Allowing travelers to share their experiences
-Offering customer service
Additionally, many cruise lines are moving ahead with plans to develop mobile applications for use during the pre-booking, pre-cruise and on-board phases, the study reports.
While there is still an age gap between the legacy cruiser and avid social networker, trends indicate that as Generation Xers and Millennials age, cruising will appear on their radar. The most successful cruise specialists will be armed and ready with the appropriate technology tools to entice this new customer, the CLIA/Amadeus study says.
Agents can download a copy of the report at www.amadeus.com.