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The Online Mixed With Offline Cruise Revolution
Will the online revolution in Travel eventually lead to the demise of the Travel Agent? Some may argue that the days when consumers would go to their local travel agency to book a weekend getaway or annual vacation are long gone. With the Millennial generation now making up such a significant portion of the population, more and more people now use the internet to research and book travel. Ease and accessibility via mobile devices is critical whether your customers start their research and shopping using their mobile device and complete their booking with a travel agent, or research, shop, and book online.
In 2018, almost half of all global travel will be booked online. During the same period, Cruise Lines International Association projects that 27.2 million people will take a cruise. And despite huge advances in online automation, most will complete their booking using an offline method. It is estimated that just less than 20% of all cruise revenue was booked online last year, indicating that booking a cruise is primarily still an offline process. While this may appear to be the case on the surface, the truth is that in today's connected world, it is likely that the majority of these Consumers spent hours online researching and planning their cruise vacation before completing the transaction with a travel agent or cruise line sales representative. This trend clearly highlights a need to integrate online research with the offline expertise of a travel professional. With mobile devices enabling consumers to be online anywhere at any time, today's cruise booking software needs to be mobile ready.
As technology evolves, unique offers like shipboard credits, etc. as part of the availability display will be incorporated into the process and provide options for agents and consumers to "pick the perk" that best meets their needs. Ultimately this is intended to identify the true value of a booking beyond the cabin to the total value of the cruise experience. Big data analytics will continue to drive mass customization targeting specific offers to traveler segments leading to greater adoption. This will lead to the onboard experience influenced by information gathered during the planning and booking process with packaging an essential tool for cruise line resellers generating incremental revenue and enhanced experiences for customers.
Today, it is clear that traditional travel agents need cruise booking software that integrates and standardizes multiple cruise content and captures and controls the user interface for the customer and travel agent. The goal needs to simplify the experience for the consumer and improve the efficiency of the online and offline process. Cruise planning and research will continue to grow online, and the key to this evolution is a next-generation platform that connects the online and offline worlds into a seamless user experience.
Finding cruise booking software 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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