CONTRIBUTOR: Emma Castle
CRUISE CRAZE: HOW TRAVEL BUSINESSES CAN CAPITALISE ON AUSTRALIA’S LOVE OF CRUISING
The B Hive’s Cruise Industry Report 2018 uncovers some remarkable opportunities for cruise companies – or indeed, travel companies of any kind – should they care to take note.
The B Hive’s research found that a third of all Australians surveyed had been on a cruise, with many of them planning to go on another cruise within two years. Over half – 54 per cent, to be precise – said that cruising was appealing to them.
That is a staggering statistic. Australians can’t even agree on which football code to follow but huge numbers of us will happily jump on board an ocean going vessel with Essendon fans, Melbourne Storm supporters and Sydney FC fanatics.
Cruising attracts a level of loyalty virtually unheard of in other travel sectors, making it the most agnostic travel option.
So why is that? What is it about cruising that appeals so definitively to Aussies?
And critically, how can travel businesses capitalise on this?
The B Hive’s Founder and CEO Tammy Marshall says that Australians love cruising because it’s an easy option.
She says, “You only have to unpack once. It’s an easy, relaxing type of holiday. You have the opportunity to access remote and regional places that would otherwise require lots of driving or expensive flights, and while you’re travelling from place to place, there’s a huge choice of activities, restaurants and shows to keep you entertained. It’s also perceived as being good value for money.”
It’s clear that Australians love to cruise but let’s break it down.
Ocean cruising is the clear winner over river cruising, with most ocean cruisers devoted to the open ocean but most river cruisers willing to give ocean cruising a go.
The age group most likely to cruise is the Over-55s, otherwise known as the ‘Empty Nesters’. The thing that appeals to them most is luxury. They want to get on board, relax and reconnect, and usually travel as a couple.
For younger people, the appeal is different. They’re looking for adventure and are driven by the opportunity to explore destinations on their port days. They also seek family-friendly activities and often travel in multi-generational groups.
An interesting finding of the report was that many of these younger travellers will return to the ports they have visited within the next five years, making cruising a kind of destinational buffet that later turns into an a la carte experience in one place.
The people least likely to cruise are solo travellers, a finding that opens up a huge opportunity to any company willing to accept the challenge.
For destinations: Attracting return visitation from people who have a port day in their destination
Tammy says that the big opportunity here is to encourage people to come back by positively seeding messages while they’re in the destination.
“Tour operators, guides and the welcome crew need to let visitors know what else is available in the destination. You need to say, ‘Come back and do this, this and this. A two hour drive from here, you can see these things’. You need to make sure you have brochures detailing these experiences available at the port.”
For cruise lines: Attracting solo travellers
Tammy says that the solo traveller challenge for cruise lines is solving what she calls the ‘yield challenge’.
“Part of the yield equation for cruise lines relies on total passenger revenue, the passenger fare and on-board revenues. Cruise lines are reluctant to sell single berths because it affects their yield. So, solving this growth area, comes down to solving this problem or potentially reconfiguring the layout of the ship to include single cabins.”
For ocean cruise lines: Attracting river cruisers
Tammy said this is a relatively simple one: target the travel agents, OTA’s and cruise wholesalers who sell river cruises and incentivise them to offer ocean cruises to their existing customers.
“It’s a natural progression that companies like Viking Cruises are doing well,” she said.
For hotels: Offering accommodation packages at the beginning and end of the cruise
Tammy says the big opportunity here is to target international cruisers who want to explore a destination that they have never visited before.
“If you’ve never been to Barcelona, for example, you might want to arrive early or stay on after your cruise. The way to target these people is to work with the cruise lines, retail travel agents and wholesale cruise teams who package cruises land products. This works well for more interesting destinations.”
Emerging cruise style
Tammy says that there is so much growth across the board that it’s hard to identify one particular style as the frontrunner.
“There is a real depth and variety of cruising emerging. These days, it’s all about matching the cruise style to the destination. The same couple may want to cruise the Caribbean on a giant ship and then head to the Arctic on a small expedition cruise. We are seeing the blending of adventure with a bit of luxury.”
DOWNLOAD THE INDUSTRY REPORT
Understanding future demand and needs for cruising in Australia
Can the current growth rates for the cruise industry be sustained? Will the boom continue or are we in for rough seas? The B Hive’s Cruise Industry Report will provide you with an understanding what the future demand for cruising in Australia will be, in combination with identifying the various customer needs for cruising in Australia.
To find out more trends in the Australian Cruise Industry, click here to view the full report.
AND WHILE YOU’RE HERE DON’T FORGET
- Find out more about The B Hive’s Cruise Feasibility Study here.
- Download The B Hive’s 7 Deadly Sins of Innovation & How to Avoid Them White Paper here.
- Download The B Hive’s white paper on Collaboration in the Travel & Tourism Industry here.
- Follow The B Hive on LinkedIn here.
- Connect with our founder, Tammy Marshall on LinkedIn here.
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