With the popularity of cruise vacations growing at a record pace, cruise booking solutions have become an increasingly important component of any travel agency’s leisure business plan. As airline commissions began to dwindle, many travel agency owners were forced to look for alternative revenue sources. Many shifted focus to Leisure travel where higher commissions for packaged vacations were an option for some while others focused on the rapidly growing cruise market. The cruise industry has been experiencing sustained growth for decades and shows no signs of slowing down. The increased commission rate cruise lines pay travel agents combined with the high ticket price for many cruise itineraries have made selling cruises something every travel agent needs to consider. This industry shift happen to coincide with the early days of the internet revolution so it wasn’t long before online cruise booking solutions began to be available.
Travel Agents have always been a great resource to sort through the different vacation options and help their customers select the right vacation option for them. Their help and expertise can certainly can make any vacation easier to plan as well as more enjoyable overall. After all, planning a vacation should not make you feel like you need one. Cruise booking solutions should be designed to help travel agents automate processes and increase revenues. A cruise booking engine needs to support both travel agent and consumer Users with the headers, footers and style sheets customized to provide a seamless online experience.
And in order to keep pace with the multitude of special promotions that cruise lines offer, cruise booking solutions should include the capability to quickly and easily adjust a product’s selling price and include value add offers right in the availability display. The application should incorporate custom rule types such as fixed cruise deposit amount, variable onboard credits, master promotions and agent commissions. Agents should be able to define additional filters and decide which type of booking or selling channel they want to apply a specific business rules to. Newly added or modified rules should be applied almost instantly, so that anyone accessing the cruise booking engine gets the best deal possible.
To assist consumers as well as travel agents in the shopping process, cruise booking solutions also need to include a vast amount cruise line, cruise ship and cabin descriptions linked to media files & rich content such as cabin photos, ship images and deck plans. This rich content will help both travel agents and consumers during the research, shopping and booking process.
Some more advanced online cruise booking solutions can seamlessly process cross-border bookings in multiple currencies and localize the display to meet local market requirements. The ability to provide cruise booking solutions in multiple languages allows cruise retailers using these solutions to reach new customers in the language they speak. A global product with multi-language and multi-currency capabilities which has been localized to meet unique market requirements can help enable an online travel agency (OTA) become a global retailer.
Finding online travel software with the right combination of options for your business can be a critical decision. Finding the right technology partner can be just as important.