Welcome to Travel Weekly Cruise Month. All through September, we will be bringing you cruise news, views and insights from the experts on this hugely successful market.
Never has there been a better time to start selling cruises. The cruise sector has seen consistent growth of 10% a year – compared to the decline of the traditional package holiday market.
In 2007, the total number of cruises sold will be 1.35m and the forecast for 2012 is two million – meaning there is enough share to go around.
Cruise bookings are highly lucrative thanks to high commission, and stimulate repeat business. Two out of three guests on board a P&O Cruise, for example, have sailed before.
Another plus is that cruises are often booked early – if a brochure is launched for the following year, you can be sure there will be clients who want to book immediately to secure their favourite cabin.
Capacity is increasing as new ships are launched dedicated to the UK market, providing an increasing level of awareness of cruising as an option to the general public.
Gone are the days when cruising was an elite pursuit. Now there are ships and itineraries to match all tastes and backgrounds, from casual to fine dining, families to couples, the Caribbean to Scandinavia.
It is important to recognise that this diversity is available: sailing on a huge ship with rock-climbing walls and surf pools appeals to some, but not to others, who may prefer a smaller ship, offering a ‘super luxury’ product, more akin to a five-star hotel.
Knowing your product and what is available is key to providing what clients want.
Read Travel Weekly this month to find out more about the benefits of selling cruise packages and learn how you can improve your business by tapping into this growing, dynamic market.