CruiseTraveltek has compiled 8,878 new-to-cruise enquiries to crystallise trends that can help cruise lines and agents leverage on opportunities.

Where and what first-time cruisers in Asia are booking

Sea Dream I and Sea Dream II at sea.
Francis Riley, senior vice president sales, Traveltek Group Ltd.
Francis Riley, senior vice president sales, Traveltek Group Ltd.

Traveltek, a travel technology provider, has revealed a series of first-time cruiser trends that can help.

Asia’s cruise market is burgeoning, but just how, as a travel agent or cruise line, can you leverage on its huge opportunities? 

Traveltek, a travel technology provider, has revealed a series of first-time cruiser trends that can help.

The first-of-its-kind survey analysed 8,878 new-to-cruise enquiries made through leading agents worldwide in 2017, as well as quotations and bookings made through its iSell CRM platform. 

Cruise duration: Six to nine, the sweet spot
The survey found that 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.

Cabin preferences: The price has to be right 
First-time cruisers have no preconception of favourite cabin or types
Their decisions were price-led, with 32% enquiring about inside cabins. This presents 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).

“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 Asia capitalise on the potential of this lucrative market and convert more enquiries to bookings,” said Francis Riley, senior vice president sales, Traveltek Group Ltd.

The survey also provided a glimpse into several growth segments:

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 cruise and airline components.

Solo travellers and families
Eighty-one per cent 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
The product is starting to appeal to first-timers, with Riviera Travel featuring in the top 10 cruise lines enquired about (7th place), quoted (7th place) and booked (10th). In terms of river cruise lines booked, Riviera Travel took the top slot across all three categories – Enquired, Quoted and Booked – with Avalon Waterways taking second place. 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 ranked 6th on the list of top 10 destinations that first-time cruisers enquired about but did not feature on the top 10 list of destinations quoted. The research suggests that either cruise lines have yet to offer many Africa itineraries or if they do, agents are not aware of them.

To leverage on these opportunities, agents can make use of solutions such as Traveltek’s Cruise Super Itineraries (CSI) technology, to hand pick flights, hotels, transfers and attractions and create tailor-made packages. 

In addition, the CruiseNX platform, launched last year, enables agents to book multiple cabins in one journey, making it easier to book a cruise for a family. It also has filter options by price, cabin type, cruise line benefits and other criteria including destinations.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI