GlobalData is warning that Summer ‘Seacations’ – something that many cruise operators have jumped at in order to take advantage of the forecast surge in UK domestic holidays – should be operated with caution.
The data and analytics firm said that wrong moves such as a COVID-19 breakout on board could decrease traveller confidence and have a knock-on impact on much-needed income.
However, GlobalData said that if done right, these offerings have the potential to encourage further, higher-yielding bookings for international voyages later this year and into 2022.
Rheanna Norris, associate analyst at GlobalData, pointed out that: “Seacations have great potential to showcase cruise safety procedures and engender trust among travellers.”
Norris continued: “This will be a much-needed reassurance after consumer confidence dropped in 2020. Opening up to the domestic market is also a smart move, as 78% of UK residents noted they will not reduce domestic travel in the ‘new normal’ after restrictions are lifted, according to a GlobalData survey.
“However,” Norris said, “there is little room for failure here. The number of shared facilities mean cruises present a risk for transmitting viruses easily, and COVID-19 safety on board is key to this operation. Strict safety procedures and traveler requirements such as a vaccine or negative test proof when embarking are essential.”
Requiring vaccination proof would be an easy option to resolve the on-board outbreak problem and avoid a costly disaster. However, this could prove ineffective as it is not certain how many people will be fully vaccinated by the summer. Further, this could exclude family bookings, which are valuable to cruise operators.
As Norris sees it: “Despite concerns, this is a great opportunity for willing UK-based cruise-goers to start travelling again and bolstering cruise companies’ finances. Use of the ships will be welcomed after high lay-up costs led to devastating financial losses in 2020.”
Go to www.globaldata.com for more.