Recent news has revealed that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has recently approved a new Dubai Cruise Terminal project, in a bid to transform Dubai into a global maritime tourism hub. In response, Traveltek’s Head of Sales – EMEA, Neil Welsh, predicts that the industry should expect an acute increase in the demand for advanced cruise booking systems.
“This recent development in Dubai is a reflection of the undeniable increase in cruise appeal globally,” said Welsh. “Cruise travel is steadily on the rise, having seen passenger numbers increase year on year and, with investments like this one, it’s clear that cruise travel will maintain its upward trajectory.”
Nevertheless, while interest in cruise continues to rise, recent statistics show that there are improvements to be made when it comes to the actual cruise booking process. According to Phocuswright, in 2018, almost half (43.97%) of all global travel will be booked online. Thus, it’s very likely that in today’s connected world, prospective cruise travellers will spend hours online, researching and planning their cruise trip across various different devices. However, a second interesting stat from Phocuswright reveals that only 19% of cruise revenue in 2017 was booked online. This would suggest a serious disconnect and a need to integrate online research with offline expertise.
Although it may sound counter intuitive to some travel agents who wish to keep the booking process offline, it’s important that they embrace the current digital movement, giving customers the online information they are looking for. This includes up to date availability, pricing and detailed descriptions. In order to do this, Welsh says, “Travel businesses require a robust cruise technology system in place.”
Recognising the potential for growth in the Middle East, Traveltek recently opened a Dubai office to be in a prime position to deal with the increased demand for travel technology solutions, specifically for cruise. “Our market leading cruise booking tools offer travel and cruise specialists the opportunity to curate and package intricate cruise and tour packages,” said Welsh. “We were the first company to offer agents the ability to hand pick every facet of a custom itinerary, enabling them to sell it as one single package. Our experienced content team ensures our database of available cruises is up to date and accurate on a daily basis and our cruise information can be priced and displayed in the language and currency of your choice. We are leading the way in terms of cruise technology and look forward to helping travel businesses in the Middle East take advantage of the growing demand.”