Cruising is the most exciting growth category in the leisure market today, with 7.2 percent average annual growth since 1990. By leveraging two important trends in social media and meeting planning, travel professionals can see their profits soar
A new joint study by Amadeus North America and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) points to two high-potential growth areas for the cruise industry: using social media to create new revenue streams, and hosting group meetings on cruise ships to attract new business.
The study, which polled more than 1,400 travel professionals between 2011 and 2012, showed a 17 percent increase in the use of social media to connect with customers. Respondents expanded their view, seeing social media less as a relationship-building tool and more as a sales and transaction generator. Key reasons to leverage social media include engaging customers, posting offers, providing travel advice, and promoting new products and services. Most important, three in four travel professionals expect social media to continue to stimulate new cruise sales in the future.
Meeting on deck
The second forecasted growth area is the emerging new business segment called M.I.C.E., or Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibits. Cruise lines understand this trend, and are strategically bolstering on-board offerings such as Wi-Fi, conference facilities, technology, entertainment and accommodations for group meetings, conferences and events. M.I.C.E. offers a huge revenue opportunity for travel agents and meeting planners who want to attract more business passengers and their families for more profits.
Clear sailing ahead
Based on the study, a successful cruise travel industry is poised for growth and promises to usher in new business opportunities through social media and the M.I.C.E. trend. The good news? The cruise industry has been growing more than 7 percent per year since 1990. The best news? Only 10 percent of North American adults have ever cruised. This opens up huge untapped potential for this important travel sector!
Are you a travel professional who knows the trends or one who leverages them to your fullest advantage?
Become a trendsetter and download the latest cruise industry study from Amadeus: "Mixing business with pleasure Emerging technology and M.I.C.E. present the next opportunity in cruising."