Worldspan Cruise makes web debut

Worldspan is helping travel agencies build revenues through the new Worldspan Cruise online booking tool. By logging on to www.worldspancruise.com, Worldspan travel agents gain a real-time connection to leading cruise and tour operators through Viewdata booking systems and call centres worldwide for current availability, bookings and instant confirmations.

Worldspan Cruise was developed to interface seamlessly with the renowned TravelTradeX cruise shopping and booking platform, which links to the internal reservation systems of an influential and growing line-up of cruise and tour operators. Worldspan Cruise is available free of charge to Worldspan travel agencies in the UK.

“This excellent product is the result of intensive consultations with leading cruise and tour operators, trade associations, cruise specialist travel agents and TravelTradeX, which runs under the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA),” said Graham Nichols, Worldspan vice president and general manager - EMEAA. “By extending this superior industry-wide service to all Worldspan agents, we are helping our agency partners create new revenue streams, while supporting the industry’s goal of continued innovation and investment in cruise marketing.”

According to the Passenger Shipping Association’s (PSA) Annual Cruise Review last year, 1.25 million British holidaymakers were expected to take an ocean cruise by the end of 2006. The data represents a 17 percent increase and the most successful year in the UK cruise market since 2003. The Review also projected 1.5 million British travellers would take a cruise by 2008. Market demand is already being met with increased concentration of ships and passenger capacity targeted at the UK market.

Currently, cruise lines and tour operators bookable through Worldspan Cruise include Celebrity Cruises, Cosmos, Cunard, Fred Olsen, Kuoni, Longwood Holidays, Ocean Villages Holidays, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Somak. Approximately 13 additional cruise lines and tour operators will be introduced through the system in the near future.

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Travel agents are free to shop and book cruises from any Internet location. No new hardware or software is required. Agents are greeted at www.worldspancruise.com by a graphical user interface (GUI) and easy, point-and-click functionality that lets them master the system in less than 15 minutes. Agents have the flexibility to shop by cruise line, tour operator or destination, and information is plentiful, providing cruise line details, product descriptions, complete itineraries, cabin photos, supplier specials and more. Travel agent commissions are paid directly by the cruise or tour operator.

TravelTradeX is the tour-operator-facing part of the British Travel Agents’ Accommodation Register, an industry joint venture which runs under ABTA, the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and National Tourist Boards, developing databases and booking systems for the UK travel industry.
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