Hays Travel has launched its dedicated cruise website and has said it plans to treble business in the sector next year.
The site, Haystravelcruise.co.uk went live on Tuesday, featuring more than 3500 holiday and 26 cruise lines, with a number of them offering an online booking service for customers.
Hays Travel product and e-commerce director Neil Hardy said bookings will initially go through the company’s 300 homeworkers and its three call centres. There will also be an option to roll out the scheme to its Independence Group which held its annual conference in Tenerife this week.
Hardy said: “It is a big growth area for us. With a growth in ex-Uk cruising its quite an exciting time in terms of moving forward.
“We are looking to double, if not treble our business in 2008 and the cruise site will only help that.
The site, which uses technology from Traveltek and has live pricing from the operators includes specialist web pages for cruise lines, destinations, ex-UK cruising, families and luxury and new to cruising. There is also options to view deck plans and with the cruise lines who will have live
The cruise site will start off relying on pay per click advertising with Google, MSN and Yahoo in a bid to bring in new customers.
Hardy also said deals will be offered on a package basis at first but that it is likely agents will soon be able to package their own deals with net rates to keep up with the increasingly competitive market.
Hays Travel 33 retail shops also has a dedicated cruise consultant in each shop to cope with the extra demand in cruise enquiries.