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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Guest Post: January’s good, bad and ugly on social media

By Travolution

By Travolution

By Dean Harvey, Digital Development Director at Designate.

We’re well into the New Year now and a fresh release of TV advertising from the travel industry is all over our screens, enticing us to think about sunnier days ahead and forget the gloomy weather outside.

The dynamics between established media and social media are largely unknown as it is relatively new and not yet mature (when compared to traditional media such as press, TV or radio).

Double screening* techniques are being explored by brands – such as using Twitter hashtags as part of their TV advertising.

The theory being that while watching TV you also are multi-tasking and using your smartphone or tablet. In doing so you can start or continue a conversation directly with your audience – while being prompted by your TV adverts.

A quick look at those social media ‘conversations’ can be insightful about the impact of and reaction to a campaign.

Starting with the Ugly, it’s too tempting not to include the latest opus from Thomson in this section.

It is called ‘Simon The Ogre’ after all, who by his nature is ugly. The campaign is the brainchild of Gavin McGrath, creative director at the Thomson’s agency BMB and directed by Fredrik Bond.

Described as more of a mini movie than a TV advert it depicts an ogre, representing a de-humanised Dad of a family, who gradually becomes more human again as a result of being on a Thomson holiday.

Simon is ugly, but so too is some feedback online where it seems to have divided and polarised opinion.

Here’s just some of the conversation if you are following the Thomson hashtag #MeAgain.

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And at the other end of the spectrum there is lots of positive sentiment too, making this release seem as if it’s achieved a ‘Marmite’ effect where people “love it or hate it”.

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So for this edition of Good, Bad and Ugly it also gets my vote for being ‘Good’ too. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

Also, experimenting with new dynamics but sitting in the ‘Bad’ pile is British Airways.

Using double screening, their new TV ad is featured on their YouTube channel with additional functionality – at the right time in the advert the user is invited to click into the video taking them instantly through to the right part of the website, such as the ‘holiday finder’ or the inspired ‘picture your holiday’.

Nice. Using Jake Bugg as a soundtrack can’t have been cheap – but that seems to have been the only thing that has inspired its viewers.

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There’s a missed opportunity here to use a Twitter hashtag on the TV advert to guide viewers towards the additional functionality of their website.

To redeem themselves, however, BA chose instead to use an outdoor advertising campaign that directed people to Twitter.

The #lookup campaign is a storming success, using interactive poster sites with children pointing every time one of their planes flies overhead.

Take a look for yourselves and join the million-plus people that have done so.

This is a great example of exploiting the dynamics between old and new media, coming together to work hard for the brand. Very clever, very good.

*Double Screening – The art of watching TV while simultaneously surfing on a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

– See more at: http://www.travolution.com/articles/2014/01/17/7459/guest-post-januarys-good-bad-and-ugly-on-social-media.html#sthash.5d6wXAeZ.dpuf