Expedia Cruises has announced a new suite of tools designed to support cruise lines, franchise partners, and Vacation Consultants. These tools will make users ability to search, choose, and ultimately distribute cruises easier and more seamless.
The new tools will also help partners identify new and evolving pockets of demand, an increasingly important requirement as the industry navigates recovery this year.
According to Expedia, positive search data in Q4 last year for cruises in 2021 signified substantial pent-up demand from cruise travellers eager to sail again as soon as possible, although ongoing regulations, testing, vaccine rollout and cleanliness protocols remain at the heart of the industry’s restart.
Early indications from this year suggest interest is still strong. In January, there was a +35% increase in US searches compared with the month before, for cruises in 2021. There was particular interest for travel dates in May, June and July 2021, with the Caribbean and Bahamas being the two most searched destinations.
The new tools and features include:
- A new agent Cruise Search Results (CSR) view, also known as the grid view, a direct result from partners’ feedback on having a more agent-focused experience so they can more efficiently shop and compare cruises on behalf of their customers.
- A Port of Call Filter, that enables partners to specify the port that they want in all itineraries. An enhanced Date Picker tool to navigate across years.
- An updated Itinerary Filter that combines the functionality of the destination filter and the itinerary filter used previously, enabling Expedia Group Partner Central, the technology platform available to travel partners who work with Expedia Group, to support searching for multiple cruise itineraries, such as the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
- New Promotion Filters that mean Vacation Consultants can now also sort inventory based on exclusive promotional inventory and rates, including member only pricing deals.
In addition to the tools, Expedia Cruises has set up Local Vacation Consultants to help travellers make informed decisions based on their local knowledge and expertise. For example, a traveller who is looking to book a trip from New Orleans will speak to a New Orleans-based Vacation Consultant.
The announcement of new tools comes at the same time as Expedia Cruises’ focuses on an omnichannel strategy that brings cruise supply onto one platform, creating a more frictionless experience for travellers, and boosting visibility and conversion for cruise lines on Expedia Group sites.
“The cruise industry is experiencing a unique set of challenges and fluctuations as it continues on the road to recovery. Boosted by encouraging search data at the end of last year and January this year, we want to equip our cruise partners with the best possible technology to allow them to harness demand and ensure repeat customers when travelers are sailing again. Both our new suite of tools and the omnichannel strategy allows them to do just that,” said Matthew Eichhorst, President of Expedia Cruises.