The coming 12 months is being hailed as the “year of the cruise” by Traveltek in expectation of further increased demand for holidays at sea and on rivers.
The specialist is making further enhancements to its cruise technology as travel companies in all of its key markets – the UK, North America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East – look to capitalise on the booming sector.
The company is working closely with the trade to tailor its offering according to their individual requirements.
This will include refining its next-generation cruise booking platform CruiseNX, released last year which introduced several new user experience enhancements,
The specific industry needs of each region will also be addressed following a global expansion drive.
Group sales director Peter Whittle said: “With Clia projecting 27.2 million cruise passengers this year, sourced from established markets such as the US and UK, but increasingly, new ones including Asia and the Middle East, Traveltek is calling 2018 the ‘year of the cruise’ and making product and business development in this sector a key priority.
“As the number of first-time sea and river cruisers swells, spurred by new ships and experiences, there has never been a better time to sell cruise and by leveraging our cruise packaging technology, unrivalled content and B2C booking platform, the travel trade can drive more sales through multiple channels.”
He added: “To ensure leisure bookers and cruise agents make the most of this all-time-high demand for cruise, we are collaborating with our key agency and cruise line partners to make further enhancements to what we offer, while factoring in the nuances of each market in which we now operate.”
North America and Europe, including the UK, remain the largest cruise source markets accounting for 50% and 27% of all passengers respectively, according to Clia.
The UK generated 1.9 million ocean cruise passengers in 2016, up 5.6% on 2015, and is Europe’s second largest source market with a 28.3% share. It is also the fourth largest cruise market globally.
“With the volume of ocean cruise passengers expected to top two million by 2020 and demand for river cruising growing at an even more rapid rate, Traveltek is making technology upgrades to help the UK travel trade keep pace,” said Whittle.
Clia is predicting several trends, including an increase in the number of millennials booking river cruises, more ‘skip-gen’ cruising – grandparents travelling with their grandchildren – plus more demand for cruises to colder climates, as well as wellness- and fitness-focused itineraries.
“Add to the mix the trade’s improved understanding of the vast range of cruise experiences and products now on offer, and the potential to bring on board more cruisers in 2018 is significant,” said Whittle.
“If savvy agents use their know-how and our technology, the results could be mind-blowing.”