Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released its fourth and final Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report of 2016, revealing key cruise travel trends and insight into the current state of the travel agent industry.
The report is the fourth installment in an ongoing quarterly research study from CLIA and is designed to forecast trends in the cruise industry among the travel agent community. This installment of the report found that travel agent sales remain strong, overall cruise spending is growing, and travel agents are influencing advance cruise bookings.
Key findings from the latest Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report of 2016 include:
Cruise Growth: Increase Over Last Year
According to the report, cruise travel's popularity continues to rise across all four major cruise segments. Travel agents reported a higher cruise sales volume over last year with over three-quarters projecting a continued increase. River cruise popularity continues and six out of ten (67 per cent) of travel agents are seeing a growth in river cruise popularity. Larger ships are seeing a spike in interest as well as 62 per cent of agents are reporting growth in the sector.
Increased Sales & Spending: Strong Interest in Cruise Travel This Winter
The report found that travel agents are continuing to see strong sales due to cruise travel's ever-growing popularity and sales are projected to be the strongest this winter when compared to earlier in 2016. Over 80 per cent of travel agencies polled believe that cruise sales volume will be strongest this winter compared to sales this time last year, due in part to economic stability. Overall cruise spending is also reported to be on the rise, as nearly three-quarters of all travel agents report an increase in consumer spending with 22 per cent expecting growth of ten per cent or more, another 22 per cent expect sales to grow six to ten per cent, and 30 per cent expecting a five per cent growth.
Advance Travel Booking: Last-Minute Cruise Deal Hunters On the Decline
Travel agents taking part in the report stated clients are increasingly booking cruises further in advance, shining a light on how knowledgeable agents can guide clients toward a best vacation with the best deal before ships reach sailing capacity, contrary to the "last minute deal" mentality. In fact, 43 per cent of agents report that more customers are booking travel nine months to a year in advance, while 37 per cent report higher bookings 12 to 18 months in advance. Last minute deal hunters are on the decline, as 20 per cent of travel agents report a reduction in the number of travellers booking cruises less than three months out.
The full report is available here.