Technology Meets Cruise Trends

Port of Miami entrancePHOTO: Port of Miami entrance. (photo via Flickr/Phillip Pessar)Cruise travel is so hot right now.

In order to determine just how hot, advertising platform Sojern partnered with Google to ascertain the outlook.

The three biggest takeaways from the report pertain to mobile planning, influence and alternative forms of travel. First, there has been an uptick in mobile cruise searches during 2017—33 percent to be exact, accounting for 29 percent of such overall searches. Second, pricing (89 percent) and entertainment (47 percent) are among the factors that influence potential cruisers.

Third, those searching for other vacations may still opt for a cruise in time.

Additionally, the report cross-referenced Google’s treasure trove of search and survey data with Sojern’s own intent information from traveler profiles and purchase signals.

As much as mobile and online are important these days, offline booking is still viable. Of past cruisers, 41 percent still made their reservations either by utilizing a travel agent or calling the cruise line directly. However, trends are certainly shifting more digital, so online travel agencies are crucial. After all, 69 percent of cruisers desire to book their next trip online.

Going digital is an influence in itself. The video specifically is cited as an important tool in capturing travelers’ attention, (which is one of the very reasons I produce my own Popular Cruising YouTube channel).

As far as marketing is concerned, there is a multitude of paths a buyer may take before booking.

One of the most common, with a 37 percent share, remains a simple cruise search followed by the reservation. However, there are also bookings that follow one or more searches for other travel forms and agencies either before or after a cruise inquiry.

In other words, agents, as well as cruise lines, should have a strong online presence, especially via social media.

As one might expect, searches for key air destinations also correspond to cruise searches. In the top ten are Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Los Angeles, Boston, Cancun, Vancouver, San Juan, Honolulu, and Tampa.

Given most of these are also cruise hubs, it makes perfect sense that a search for something land-based might transfer over to something cruise based.

The report points out that, despite the wonderful all-inclusive value proposition of cruises, it is not always what leads people first to a cruise. Rather, it’s more often about a destination or experience.

Once another gets them interested, however, the value is a great way to win them over.

It’s worth noting a majority of cruise searches still occur on desktop platforms and almost all bookings are made on the desktop over mobile. During a week, most searches happen on Mondays and Tuesdays, with three-quarters via desktop. However, by the weekend, mobile searches account for one-third of the traffic.

Meanwhile, only 9 to 11 percent of reservations are actually made over mobile versus the remainder via desktop. There definitely seems to be potential to convert more mobile searches to bookings accordingly. Perhaps apps need to mature in this area to ensure better consumer confidence.

Ultimately, there remain plenty of ways in which a traveler can research and purchase a cruise vacation. Both cruise lines and travel agents need to simply be aware of the prime marketing positions and avenues to occupy.

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Royal Caribbean to use Snapchat for underwater tour

Specially designed scuba mask to stream three underwater adventure tours.

Royal Caribbean International will use a specially designed scuba mask to stream three underwater adventure tours to followers on the social media platform Snapchat.

The Royal Caribbean Snapchat channel will be devoted to the tours from June 21 through June 25.

The tours use Snapchat Spectacles in tandem with a custom-designed underwater mask Royal Caribbean is calling the “SeaSeeker.” It allows the wearer to “snap” while underwater.

“The SeaSeeker will enable all adventure-seekers to get a front-row seat to the thrilling adventures found underwater in a way that has never been possible before,” said Jim Berra, Royal Caribbean’s chief marketing officer.

The underwater adventures will be seen through the eyes of three well-known divers. In Cozumel, Mexico marine wildlife photographer and conservationist Roberto Ochoa will give viewers a rare glimpse into the annual migration of whale sharks.

Marine biologist Gabriela Nava will then take viewers to see a coral reef restoration project where she and her team have been working to restore the local reefs.

In Belize, fans can follow along as free diver Ashleigh Baird visits the Great Blue Hole, an underwater sinkhole that is believed to be the largest of its kind.

Fans can hashtag #SeekDeeper while following @RoyalCaribbean on Snapchat.

Royal Caribbean begins search for first ‘Instagram intern’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The search for an explorer to fulfill Royal Caribbean International’s first Instagram ‘Intern-ship of the Seas’ is launched today.

This comes as new research by the line confirms that social media is a key source of inspiration in consumer holiday booking habits.

The study of 2,000 UK and Ireland consumers was commissioned to determine the role that social media plays in inspiring holidaymakers.

The results show nearly half (48%) of holidaymakers rely on platforms like Instagram for inspiration. More than a third (34%) claim they would not consider visiting a destination without first consulting social media.

A third (37%) say that seeing their friends’ bragging posts from abroad has encouraged them to plan their own holiday.

‘Fear of missing out’ after seeing holiday images has triggered a fifth of travellers to go as far as to book the same holiday as friends.

As a result, the line is seeking applications via Instagram to find an ‘extraordinary explorer’ who will sail the seas and capture the unique stories, destinations and experiences of a cruise holiday.

As part of the role, the candidate will travel three oceans, on three ships, for three weeks, this summer with food, drink, accommodation, flights and expenses covered by Royal Caribbean and will also be rewarded with £3,000.

Applicants who think they have what it takes to capture pictures that stand out and inspire holidaymakers can apply for the role by sharing their most extraordinary travel photo on Instagram, tagging @RoyalCaribbeanUK and #ExtraordinaryExplorer. Agents can apply too.

Travel blogger Johnny Ward, who next month is set to become the youngest person to visit every country in the world, will select the winning candidate alongside a panel of judges including Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley and Royal Caribbean UK and Ireland managing director Ben Bouldin.

The judges will mark applications against strict criteria to select the successful candidate. Submissions will be judged on a number of elements including visual appeal, storytelling ability, originality and inspirational qualities.

Bouldin said: “Royal Caribbean has a fleet of 25 ships visiting over 250 destinations around the world, meaning our holidays are positively teeming with extraordinary moments. In a first for the cruise industry, we’re looking for a talented storyteller to capture those moments and bring them to the world via Instagram.

“When it comes to choosing a holiday, we know social media plays a crucial role in the decision making process for consumers. Knowledge and personalisation are then key to convert that idea into an actual cruise holiday, which is the crucial role our agents play. ”

Ward added: “This research proves that social media is integral to how we live our lives and book our holidays.

“Royal Caribbean has cleverly used this insight in their new Intern-Ship role and is hunting for a storyteller extraordinaire that can use Instagram to inspire others to explore the world.

“I have created a living out of my travel stories but social media is positively teeming with budding storytellers out there looking for a big break.”