2018 looks set to be another year of change for the UK cruise industry, with discount cruise retailer CruiseDeals.co.uk the latest to announce plans to launch a fully transactional website.
Customers can currently use the site to search for cruises from a number of the world’s leading cruise lines, including Marella Cruises, P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean. All bookings and enquiries are then made over the phone via one of the site’s expert cruise specialists. Once the new site is launched however, cruisers will be able to source and book the latest deals from Marella cruises via one easy-to-use website, including all on board extras and excursions.
CruiseDeals.co.uk representative Ian Crawford says, “Cruise audiences are getting younger and older generations are becoming more tech-savvy, which means our industry must adapt to meet the growing demand for personalised e-commerce. Much like other industries, cruise customers interact with multiple channels across the purchase journey. Today’s consumers expect a seamless experience across all channels, whether that be retail, call centres, social media, web or mobile. Becoming transactional is the logical next step for us and we also look forward to enhancing our customer service experience in 2018.”
A launch date for the new website is yet to be confirmed, however it’s expected that the brand will undergo a substantial overhaul in its bid to appeal to tech-savvy audiences. Alongside the transactional features, they plan to launch a content hub with insider tips, advice and information for both cruise newcomers and seasoned enthusiasts. Covering everything from planning and booking your cruise to things to do in each destination, the end goal is to better inform customers with their decision making.
Continued growth in UK cruise sector and record passenger numbers
The total number of embarkations from UK ports was 1.03 million in 2016, 88% of which were passengers from the UK. Trend reports also suggest that a growing number of UK passengers are opting for no-fly cruises above their traditionally more popular fly-cruise counterparts.
It’s little wonder then that the industry is turning more attention to cruises that depart from home ports. CLIA also reported that the number of UK passengers grew strongly in 2016, with British cruise departures now accounting for 48% of the market. Their full annual report is due out next month, however further growth is expected.
Crawford goes on to say, “As British cruise lines continue to invest in new on-board and ashore experiences, it’s no wonder the ex-UK market is becoming increasingly popular. Southampton still remains the UK’s most popular port, however smaller ports such as Newcastle and Tilbury are also seeing rapid growth.”
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