Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) released today its most recent Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report, uncovering cruise travel trends and key insights from within the travel agent industry.
The report is part of an ongoing research study from CLIA intended to forecast cruise industry trends among travel agents. This installment of the Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook found that more than 80 per cent of travel agents say their cruise volume has increased in 2017, and three-quarters say their clients are spending more this year on cruise tourism.
Key findings from the Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report include:
North American travelers tend to gravitate toward Western Hemisphere destinations. Alaska is currently seeing the most growth (51 per cent), followed by Caribbean/Bermuda/Mexico (42 per cent) and Canada/New England (31 per cent). Staying closer to home could offer some degree of comfort, according to several agents. “People are concerned about safety, but still want to explore new places,” says one travel professional, “so Alaska has become bigger overall. I am featuring Alaska more as a potential destination and making sure it is on my clients’ radar.”
Value & Service
Value and service are the most important factors in driving cruise guest satisfaction, according to travel agents. Almost all customers (98 per cent) say service is “very” or “extremely” important to their guest satisfaction, and (96 per cent) report the same about value. These factors are followed by comfort (94 per cent) and amenities/activities and destination (90 per cent). Less important, but still essential, price transparency (83 per cent), return on experience (81 per cent), culinary options (80 per cent) and security (79 per cent). Entertainment (67 per cent) and enrichment opportunities (47 per cent) scored lowest, but still provide value for some travelers.
Adventure & Expedition Travel
Sixty-two percent of travel agents say their clients are becoming more interested in expedition or adventure travel than in years past. Travelers are looking for exploration, “something new and out of the box,”, and the cruise industry offers many choices—from luxury to adventure boat experiences. That interest isn’t coming from just one type of traveler. It comes from friend groups (62 per cent), couples (61 per cent), solo travelers (50 per cent) and multi-gen groups (46 per cent) - and it finds advantage in a multitude of destinations. Agents in adventure report 76 per cent “more” or “some” interest in Alaska, 49 per cent in the Galapagos Islands and 33 per cent in the South Pacific.
For more information, the full report is available here.