A survey has revealed first-time cruiser trends the 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 leverage the growth opportunities in the first-time cruise market,” Traveltek Group, the Scottish company that conduced the survey, said in a statement.
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.
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 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 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.
Africa cruise itineraries were place 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.
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).
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.
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, Traveltek said.