Cruising gives hotels a bruising

Cruises steal business from hotels….why?

As a hotel man (seriously, what else was I going to say) the whole cruise thing is something I still can’t really get my head around. But where I say I can’t stand the idea of being locked into place for eight days, advocates say “one unpack and waking up every morning in a new destination.”

It eats into the hotel business and it’s one of the most commonly discussed topics when we meet with agents. It’s not surprising as The Cruise Ship Industry is the fastest growing segment in tourism and is projected to continue on an upward growth path in the coming years.

My research identified not only the growth but emerging trends which seem to be prominent.

Growth in Bundling Experiences

There has been a growing demand for bundling cruise vacations . This allows the client to get a good deal on these options through bundling, therefore reducing his overall cost of travel. For agents it grants the opportunity to be a little more opaque on pricing,  making it harder for customers to go direct to the source to deconstruct your itinerary.

But annoyingly for agents, an increasing number of cruise ships are now booking these package deals for clients because of the value add generated and margin retained by the cruise company. There is a real danger of giving away your clients details after the first cruise and the cruise company becoming their default travel agent.

River cruises

When Trevor Jones from Hawthorn travel first mentioned this to me years ago, I could think of nothing less exciting… Walking pace …as River cruising boats lineup down the canals of the world. Full of people. Me wrong again.

It’s almost cruising for the active traveler as there is the opportunity to get off the barge and get on the bike, ride around town and meet up later on, giving a much more fulfilling experience than just taking a bus or taxi. Hence, it is more popular among Millennial’s constantly seeking adventure. There are several cruise lines offering river cruises now, such as Avalon Cruises, Amawaterways and Uniworld.

Growth of themed cruises

 Unsurprisingly Richard Branson has launched a Virgin product with a difference – adults only.  Cruise Lines are actively seeking ways to attract more clientele by offering themed cruises. The theme could be wellness, music or arts as opposed to alcohol and trying to pick up someone new every second night.

It creates new opportunities for engagement with clients about the things they love as opposed to necessarily a desire for them to go cruising.

Actually a wellness cruise could be pretty cool…

 

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