New figures released today by Amadeus show there are great opportunities ahead for travel agents to capitalise on UK travellers’ appetites for cruise holidays, with many being tempted by far-flung destinations and the thought of exploring the world.
The representative survey of over 2,000 UK adults was conducted in May by YouGov on behalf of Amadeus UK and Ireland.
Opportunities for agents look significant in 2013 and beyond, with eight per cent of UK adults reporting that that they may book a cruise holiday in the next 12 months.
The Caribbean is at the top of the list of dream destinations: asked where they would most like to go on a cruise holiday from a given list, if money were no object, just over a fifth (21 per cent) chose the Caribbean; 15 per cent the South Pacific and Australia; and 11% the Mediterranean.
However, there are further indications that travellers could be tempted to swap their land-based holiday for one at sea. A third of people (32 per cent) would be tempted to go on a cruise holiday if they were of lower or comparable cost to an all-inclusive holiday.
The survey indicates a clear desire amongst UK adults to wake up in a new place almost every day, with 29 per cent selecting this as something that would tempt them to choose a cruise. Something agents can capitalise on as almost uniquely the domain of cruise holidays.
Heartening for agents should be the fact that media coverage of recent incidents involving cruise liners, such as the partial sinking of the Costa Concordia in 2012 and sporadic yet well publicised outbreaks of noro-virus, has had little impact on the majority of holidaymakers. Just over two fifths (41 per cent) of people who hadn’t ruled out a cruise holiday beforehand said the media coverage hasn’t put them off and they would still consider this a holiday option.
Eight per cent of all UK respondents said they weren’t aware of any media coverage of issues on cruise holiday.
However, price is a key issue: four in ten people surveyed said that they perceive cruises are too expensive, and this puts them going off going on a cruise holiday. Additional costs, such as drinks and tips for staff, were of concern to some.
Rob Sinclair-Barnes, director, marketing, Amadeus UK & Ireland, said: “These findings should make for very pleasing reading for the UK’s travel agents and cruise providers, as they show there are enormous opportunities to sell cruises in 2013 and beyond.
“However, there are still plenty of opportunities for cruise providers and sellers to communicate the various offerings more effectively: there’s still a perception that cruise holidays are for the older traveller, and that they’re expensive – despite sustained efforts by the industry to broaden its appeal to a younger clientele, where value for money is a key criteria.
“That’s where we see huge value in providing smarter technology, such as the new Amadeus Cruise Shop.
“It has been designed to help cruise sellers clearly communicate about what is available and tailor the shopping experience based on the diverse needs of individual travellers.”