Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released its first Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report of 2017, uncovering cruise travel trends – including positive sales growth – and key insights from within the travel agent community.
The report is part of an ongoing research study from CLIA intended to forecast cruise industry trends among travel agents. This installment shows that agents continue to experience positive sales growth. Some key trends contributing to this include the rise of multi-generational cruise travel, a high demand for shorter duration cruises, and travellers looking for all-inclusive options.
“Travel agents have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the cruise industry. By tapping into insights through the Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook report, the industry is able to forecast upcoming travel and traveller behaviour trends and tailor business strategies accordingly,” said CLIA president Cindy D’Aoust.
Key findings from the report:
- Cruise Industry Continues to Rise
According to the report, cruise travel agent sales continue to increase. In fact, 77% of cruise travel agents indicate that their sales volume is better than last year. Additionally, nearly three quarters (74%) of agents say they expect to experience an increase in customer spending in 2017, especially when it comes to cost of excursions.
The cruise industry continues to grow across all sectors with nearly half (47%) of agents reporting the highest customer satisfaction with ocean cruises over all-inclusive resorts (21%) and house or condo rentals (7%). River cruises also continue to garner popularity, as agents report clients value smaller ships, less structure, and a variety of river cruise amenities.
- Changes in Traveller Behaviour & Cruise Duration
The report also found some developing changes in cruise traveller behaviour. Agents taking part in the report stated that shorter cruise lengths are becoming more popular than ever with the greatest interest in cruises lasting less than two weeks. More than four out of 10 agents (43%) reported that clients were most interested in cruises of three to five days and 44% of agents predict increased bookings in cruises lasting six to eight days. North America-based travel agents have also seen a shift towards domestic travel.
- A Multitude of Multi-generational & All-Inclusive Demand
Multi-generational and group travel both continue to be a developing trend within the industry, with agents reporting more and more families choosing cruises for travelling together. The report found that age-appropriate amenities and onboard activities are attracting multi-generational travel groups, as cruise ships often offer something to suit every preference and age group. Agents are seeing a rise in bookings across a variety of age-groups, with nearly seven out of 10 (67%) agents citing an increase in Boomer generation bookings and over half (55%) seeing an uptick in bookings among the Generation X age group.
Agents also report that all-inclusive cruises are a big attraction to first time cruise travellers, citing the biggest draws for travellers as the desire to sample multiple destinations, gain a rich international experience, and only unpack once on a multi-leg journey, all without the worry of being surprised by a large bill at the end of the trip.