Cruise holidays have a loyal and growing customer base, with repeat booking rates some of the highest in the travel industry.
But, the industry is changing.
New destinations, increasingly diverse on-board experiences, and specialist tours and events mean there is now so much more on offer than the classic ocean cruise.
As a result, the “typical” cruise customer is changing too.
The growth of cruise sales
Since 1997, the number of UK travellers choosing cruise travel has increased by a whopping 47%.
In particular, the baby boomer generation are seeking out novel cruise experiences.
In the 60 – 69 age group, cruise sales to Asia, Alaska and world cruises all grew more than 40% in 2017. Antarctica and the Galapagos islands weren’t too far behind; with growth of 36%.
This generation is healthier and more active than previous generations of this age – making more adventurous destinations more appealing.
This demographic is also helping to drive a new travel trend: skip-gen travel.
This is where grandparents take their grandchildren away while parents stay at home due to work commitments.
On the other hand, younger generations are opting for “classic” cruise routes, with Northern Europe and the Caribbean showing the highest growth for those aged between 20 and 50 years of age. Here, it’s the on-board experiences – from spas to cookery lessons – which are helping to drive demand.
Plus, the nature of cruise travel makes it very “Instagrammable” – with great photo opportunities both on-board and on the many different shore experiences.
It's not surprising then that our cruise sales continue to grow by 11% year on year – a trend that shows no sign of waning yet.
We've seen an increase in demand for more experiential cruises: expedition and adventure in far-flung shores, as well as river cruise gaining popularity and more customers seeking an intimate holiday experience on smaller ships.
Why sell cruise at Travel Counsellors?
Luckily for Travel Counsellors, the strength of our commercial partnerships is clearly evident in cruise.
Franchisees can access multiple cruise lines, airlines, transfers, and all the ancillaries they need to create the perfect end-to-end cruise itinerary, all from within our booking platform, Phenix.
Anjie Naughton is one of Travel Counsellors top-selling cruise specialists.
She says, *“Travel Counsellors give me all the technology, tools and support I need to develop my business.
"We have access to exclusive ship visits and launches, and supplier open days.
"It can be a big leap of faith going from a salaried position to running your own business, but once you have a few bookings under your belt, it is liberating working however you want to grow your own business.
"My business has changed as my children have grown up. Now I have a large database of loyal customers that I’ve built from a standing start.
"It’s so exciting that you can do that from your own home, all supported by an incredible team at Travel Counsellors' head office. And twenty years on, I’m still here growing my business.”*