Agents Predict Strong Year Ahead for Cruise Travel


It’s all good news in the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) fourth – and final – Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report for 2016.

The report, which tracks key cruise travel trends along with providing insight into the current state of the travel agent industry, revealed that: Travel agent sales remain strong; overall cruise spending is growing; and agents are influencing advance cruise bookings.

CLIA president, Cindy D’Aoust said that, “The Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook report allows us to keep our finger on the pulse of the cruise industry as a whole and provides a glimpse into the future from the travel agents perspective.”

D’Aoust noted that, “Findings from latest report help both travel agents and industry stakeholders adapt to meet the needs of today’s travellers and has become a staple in our research calendar.”

Key findings include:

  • Growing Sales

The popularity of cruising continues to rise across all four major cruise segments.

Travel agents reported a higher cruise sales volume over last year with over three-quarters projecting a continued increase. The popularity of river cruising continues with six out of 10 (67%) agents reporting growth in their river cruise business.

As well, sailings aboard larger ships are spiking in interest, with 62% of agents reporting growth in this segment.

  • Strong Winter Spending

CLIA also found that travel agents are continuing to see strong sales due to cruise travel’s ever-growing popularity and sales are projected to be the strongest this winter when compared to earlier in 2016.

Over 80% of travel agencies polled believe that cruise sales volume will be strongest this winter compared to sales this time last year, due in part to economic stability.

Overall cruise spending is also reported to be on the rise, as nearly three-quarters of all agents report an increase in consumer spending with 22% expecting growth of 10% or more, another 22% expect sales to grow 6% to 10%, and 30% expecting a 5% growth.

  • All About Advance Booking

Agents are also telling CLIA that their clients are increasingly booking cruises further in advance.

And that trend certainly shines a light on how knowledgeable agents can guide clients toward the best vacation with the best deal before ships reach sailing capacity – and contrary to the “last minute deal” mentality.

In fact, 43% of agents reported that more customers are booking travel nine months to a year in advance, while 37% report higher bookings 12 to 18 months in advance.

Last minute deal hunters are on the decline, as 20% of agents report a reduction in the number of travellers booking cruises less than three months out.