Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) released today the first Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report of 2017, uncovering cruise travel trends and key insights from within the travel agent industry. The report is part of an ongoing research study from CLIA intended to forecast cruise industry trends among travel agents. This installment of the Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook found that travel agents continue to experience positive sales growth. Some key trends contributing to this growth include the rise of multigenerational cruise travel, a high demand for shorter duration cruises, and travelers looking for all-inclusive options.
“Travel agents have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the cruise industry. By tapping into insights through the Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook report, the industry is able to forecast upcoming travel and traveler behavior trends and tailor business strategies accordingly,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA.
Key findings from the first Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report of 2017:
Cruise Industry Continues to Rise
According to the report, cruise travel agent sales continue to increase. In fact, 77 percent of cruise travel agents indicate that their sales volume is better than last year. Additionally, nearly three quarters (74 percent) of agents say they expect to experience an increase in customer spending in 2017, especially when it comes to cost of excursions.
The cruise industry continues to grow across all sectors with nearly half (47 percent) of travel agents reporting the highest customer satisfaction with ocean cruises over all-inclusive resorts (21 percent) and house or condo rentals (7 percent). River cruises also continue to garner popularity, as agents report clients value smaller ships, less structure, and a variety of river cruise amenities.
Changes in Traveler Behavior & Cruise Duration
The report also found some developing changes in cruise traveler behavior. Travel agents taking part in the report stated that shorter cruise lengths are becoming more popular than ever with the greatest interest in cruises lasting less than two weeks. More than four out of ten agents (43 percent) reported that clients were most interested in cruises of three to five days and 44 percent of agents predict increased bookings in cruises lasting six to eight days. North America-based travel agents have also seen a shift towards domestic travel.
A Multitude of Multigenerational & All-Inclusive Demand
Multigenerational and group travel both continue to be a developing trend within the industry, with agents reporting more and more families choosing cruises for traveling together. The report found that age-appropriate amenities and onboard activities are attracting multigenerational travel groups, as cruise ships often offer something to suit every preference and age group. Travel agents are seeing a rise in bookings across a variety of age-groups, with nearly seven out of ten (67 percent) agents citing an increase in Boomer generation bookings and over half (55 percent) seeing an uptick in bookings among the Generation X age group.
Agents also report that all-inclusive cruises are a big attraction to first time cruise travelers, citing the biggest draws for travelers as the desire to sample multiple destinations, gain a rich international experience, and only unpack once on a multi-leg journey, all without the worry of being surprised by a large bill at the end of the trip.