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A Cruise Booking Engine Should Be Flexible

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By Author: Glenn Dean
Total Articles: 20
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Currently the process to research, plan and book a cruise generally takes a long time and involves multiple steps. The initial research is sometimes started online by many consumers using a mobile device, talking with friends and family or seeking advice from a traditional travel agent. Additional research about particular a cruise line or itinerary may also be performed online by checking cruise review sites or other social media. And as a new generation of travelers considers a cruise for their vacation, their path to purchase will become increasingly complex with consumers naturally moving across different devices, sites and channels.

When it comes to booking the cruise, some consumers may prefer to book by phone or online with the specific cruise line.
Due to their familiarity with cruising, past North American cruise customers are more likely to book using an online cruise booking engine than the first-time cruiser. A cruise holiday package can be is a significant expense for most, especially those going on longer cruises or high-end cruise lines. Generally, the higher the price tag, the more likely the customer will contact a travel agent or the cruise line directly before making their final purchase. A traveler who is purchasing a $30,000 cruise package will likely need reassurance that they are getting the proper value for their money, even if they are a repeat cruiser.

One of the most difficult challenges faced when launching a cruise booking engine is the complexity associated with cruise content. Access to live availability and pricing is critical to ensure the most up to date information is being provided. Cruise sellers need to be able to access and control content for each individual cruise line including the ability to bias the display and promote preferred suppliers if they wish. One key feature necessary for successful online shopping and bookings is the ability to compare prices and itineraries across multiple cruise lines. However, this can be a complicated effort considering the different ship specific content and configurations which differ dramatically across ships and cruise lines. And these differences continue to grow as cruise lines build larger ships with their own unique design, features and attractions. Integrating a cruise booking engine with detailed descriptions, deck plans, cabin photos combined with links to media rich files and videos becomes increasingly important to help with the research and shopping process.

Cruise lines offer consumers special perks such as onboard spending credits, value add offers and special discounts which can also make it difficult to easily identify the best value for the individual customer's needs. Business Management tools need to include the ability for a business owner to quickly and easily mark up or mark down a product's selling price and the ability to include marketing messages in the availability display to highlight value ad offers and special discounts.

Choosing a cruise booking engine with the right combination of options for your business can be a critical decision. Finding a technology partner that will help you reach today's mobile consumer with the content they are looking for can be just as important.

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