According to the travel trends report from AAA North Penn, cruises are due a revival this year. Popularity will soar as guests seek to explore distant lands from the comfort of luxurious cruise liners, but also seek to maximise their time on these giant liners as 'on-boarding' becomes a major travel trend – that is, remaining on cruise liners to explore the offerings of the ship rather than exploring the islands and stops en route during their stay.
Cruise liners are becoming more experience led – Royal Caribbean's new Anthem of the Seas liner includes bumper cars and flying trapeze lessons; Disney on the other hand has recently invested in two more ships to its cruise line, allowing the company to accommodate 50% more passengers and thus meet this growing demand.
But it seems that whilst some cruise companies are willing to invest in what is needed to make their ships stand out from competitors, when it comes to the research and booking process these niche travel companies are falling behind others in terms of the technology being deployed.
When it comes to the tech installed on the ships themselves, there's no denying that cruise companies have it down to a T. On the new Disney cruise liners – the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy – high-tech virtual windows have been installed in windowless cabins, and Royal Caribbean has implemented new on-board digital experiences for guests that include a passenger mobile app that reduces the wait time at security and RFID wristbands that allows passengers to pay for drinks with ease.
Cruise companies need to do more than simply investing in on-board tech, however; they need to embrace technology from start to finish – from the first instance a customer thinks about taking a cruise to when they are safely setting sail.
A recent news report from Luxury Daily has noted that The Leading Hotels of the World group is actively investing in online video marketing to attract and engage more customers. A total of 24 videos are to be produced throughout the year to be shared on social media, in email campaigns and on the websites of their different hotel chains.
Similarly Thomson Cruises has been employing photographers, bloggers and vloggers to post social content advertising cruises as a unique holiday choice to those who may not have considered it before.
It is this sort of dedication to using technology and clever campaigning in the initial stages of customer engagement that some cruise companies are lacking. These businesses need to understand the importance of having an engaging website that reflects the kind of high-tech offerings the ships themselves contain.
It's not just website and marketing that require updating, however – a fast booking engine is also essential in 2016 if cruise companies are to maximise their market share and engage more potential cruise advocates. It is essential to have a professional cruise website which allows customers to browse and book, and get live pricing and availability.
If you have a cruise travel business and need a sophisticated website to keep up with technology demands, visit our cruise page for information on our new fully-integrated, sophisticated cruise platform.