Book it, pack it, float off . . .

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Comedian Peter Kay got it right when it came to organising holidays abroad. “Booked it, packed it, ****ed off,” was the line, and never mind that he was talking about Teletext rather than the Internet – that was a few years ago.
Now there is growing evidence that online bookings are growing in importance for cruise lines, according to research carried out by deal-checker website Travelzoo. Although the cruise sector is traditionally led by travel agent bookings, the findings show that 38 per cent of consumers now book their cruise holidays exclusively online, an increase of 20 per cent on last year.
The research also showed that the most important factors in deciding whether to book a cruise are the itinerary (27 per cent) and the price (26 per cent), with 25 per cent of cruisers taking their first cruise only because they found a good deal. The reputation of the cruise line is also becoming ever more important as cruising increases its market share, with 17 per cent saying it is the most important factor in deciding what to book.
When planning their holidays, 78 per cent of cruise passengers use the internet to do at least some of their research.
Although the cruise industry has succeeded in projecting a younger image, with only 11 per cent saying they felt cruising was not for their age group, it still needs to address the perception that it is expensive. Price is cited in the research as the greatest barrier to cruising, with 30 per cent of respondents saying high cost is a reason for not considering a cruise. They must be the ones who haven’t done their research properly.
Despite this, UK consumers are willing to spend a significant amount on a cruise holiday if they believe it represents value for money, with 68 per cent spending more than £900 per person and 25 per cent over £1,500.
Travelzoo UK managing director Joel Brandon-Bravo said: “It is clear that cruising is no longer a niche holiday option for UK consumers, but more still needs to be done to highlight the exceptional value for money that a cruise holiday offers.”
And Chris Clarkson, marketing director of online cruise agency, told me : “It seems apparent that, despite a slow start, the cruise industry will eventually catch up with other leisure sectors online. People are now comfortable making bookings in the thousands of pounds bracket, entirely online.”
Dave Mills, head of commercial at IgluCruise added “It’s becoming clear that the baby boomers born in the mid-50s, now prime cruise customers, are increasingly comfortable with researching and booking their cruise online. The boom in tablet computers such as the iPad will continue to reinforce the convenience and ease of use of the internet and its rise as the purchasing channel of choice.”
Of course, they only needed to ask Captain Greybeard, or stand in a queue of passengers at an internet cafe on board a cruise ship, and all would have become clear without the need for a survey.
I’ve got a feeling that, like Peter Kay’s garlic bread, this Internet thing might just catch on . . .

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:57+00:00 4 January 2012|Cruise Deals, Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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