Cruise and leisure travel agents can leverage new technology to make the most of the growth of first time cruisers, says Traveltek.
The travel technology provider analysed 8,878 new-to-cruise enquiries made through agents, finding trends it has since designed its software to help agents capitalise on.
Itineraries of between six and nine nights accounted for 35% of enquiries, 49% of quotes and 46% of bookings, Traveltek found.
Fly-cruise represented 26% of all first-time cruiser enquiries on its platform, but only 9% of travel agency quotes, which it said suggested bookers were reticent to package the flight and airline components together.
Meanwhile, research suggested 81% of enquiries and quotes were for two adults, which the number crunchers say shows 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.
Traveltek also found that river cruising appeals to first-time cruisers, with river cruise specialist Riviera Travel the 7th most enquired about cruise line, 7th most quoted and 10th most booked.
Africa cruise itineraries were sixth in the list of destinations enquired about, but did not make the top ten for destinations quoted. Traveltek says this suggests either cruise lines are yet to offer many Africa itineraries or, if they do, agents are not aware of them.
First-time cruisers have no preconception of cabin types, so decisions were typically price-led, according to the research. Traveltek found 32% of first-time cruisers enquired about inside cabins, while quotes for inside cabins represented 26%. On the other hand, quotes for cabins with balconies made up 29% while on initial enquiry only 27% of people asked about them.
Traveltek says agents can use its systems to capitalise on the trends its 2017 data has uncovered.
Its Cruise Super Itineraries (CSI) technology lets agents hand-pick flights, hotels, transfers and attractions and create tailor-made packages and sources product at point of sale.
The CruiseNX platform, launched last year, allows agents to book multiple cabins in one go, filter by price, cabin type, cruise line benefits and other criteria including destinations.
It also offers agents a dedicated river cruise search and booking facility.
“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 capitalise on the potential of this lucrative market and convert more enquiries to bookings,” said Francis Riley, senior vice president sales, Traveltek Group Ltd.
“It also proves that the technology is now available to curate the cruise products and packages that first-timer cruisers want, making it simpler than ever before for them to purchase fly-cruise, family cruises, river cruises and alternative destinations and itineraries.”