Booking trends for first-time cruisers

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While first-time cruisers respond well to upselling by agents when it comes to cabin types, they seem to be more less willing to put down bookings for flight and cruise packages despite showing interest in fly-cruise products, a study by the Traveltek Group shows.

The study analyses 8,878 new-to-cruise enquiries made through agents worldwide in 2017, and further compares these to quotations and bookings made through Traveltek’s CRM platform.

The study also reveals that a large portion of enquires were for two adults, and the cruise market needs to attract other demographics by being more flexible

Even though fly-cruise represented a significant 26 per cent of all first-time cruiser enquiries, the number dropped to just nine per cent of travel agency quotes, suggesting bookers were reticent to package the flight and airline components together.

On the other hand, first-time cruisers have no preconception of favourite cabin or the types available, presenting savvy agents with opportunities to use their product knowledge to upsell. While thirty-two per cent enquired about inside cabins, quotes for that cabin type declined to 26 per cent, while quotes for cabins with balconies increased to 29 per cent (up from 27 per cent at point of enquiry).

The study also showed that 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 (seventh place), quoted (seventh place) and booked (10th). In terms of top river cruise lines booked, Riviera Travel took the top slot across all three categories, followed by Avalon Waterways in second place across the same categories.

In comparison, while Africa cruise itineraries place high on the list of top 10 destinations that first-time cruisers enquired about (sixth place), they did not feature on the top 10 list of destinations quoted. For Traveltek, this suggests either that cruise lines are yet to offer many Africa itineraries or if they do, agents are not aware of them.

Meanwhile, 81 per cent of enquiries and quotes were for two adults. Traveltek opined that this highlights the need for the cruise market to attract other demographics such as solo travellers and families by offering more flexible cabin pricing and configurations.

The analysis also revealed that itineraries of between six and nine nights dominated enquiries (35 per cent), quotes (49 per cent) and bookings (46 per cent).

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