Accord, an integrated marketing agency specialising in travel, along with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the cruise industry trade association, and global research giant GfK, have jointly released “Future Opportunities of River Cruising”, uniting their knowledge of the river cruise sector to deliver insightful statistics on the current perception of the industry and how this could change in future. The study, based on 600+ UK customer interviews, provides an overview of what people currently think about river cruising.
“River cruising provides a huge area of opportunity for growth,” according to Helen Roberts, Consumer & Retail Industry Lead at GfK. “Currently it’s a small share of the holiday market, but one that has the potential to attract a much larger volume of travellers. However the holiday market is increasingly competitive and the choosing and booking process ever more complex.”
The research looks at the challenges in bringing recognition to the river cruise industry. For many providers, it still remains a “well-kept secret” amongst seasoned travellers. Research has shown cruise providers must look at innovative ways to share valuable client experiences with a wider audience in order to increase bookings.
“Our research gives us valuable insight into where that opportunity lies,” continued Roberts. “We discover which travellers to target and identify how to reach them. We put forward suggestions for communications content that will generate bookings and consider which river cruise experiences will excite and inspire the traveller.”
Throughout the world, GfK provides relevant market and consumer information for a wide range of clients. At the company, more than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion to help GfK deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries.
Andy Harmer, Director at CLIA UK & Ireland, said the river cruising sector is important to watch. Through its work, especially within the European Union, the group promotes the various interests of cruise operators based in Europe. “In 2014, the UK river cruise market increased by 6 per cent to 139,400 passengers,” he said. “River cruising is definitely one of the sectors that is booming; it has a real destination focus – it is with on-shore activities where we can reflect this new positioning a little easier.”
The publication highlights several key demographics for cruise companies to target in their sales and marketing. In researching the sector, some concrete ways to reach new travellers were identified. These types of cruise enthusiasts are looking for new experiences, and often become aware of river cruising through a variety of channels and campaigns, the research found.
Accord help travel companies and tourism organisations meet their business goals in today’s digitally-focused market. They have a reputation for getting the job done successfully, efficiently and with exceptional value. Delivering ROI is at the heart of all activities.
“Partnering with industry leaders in the cruise sector and market research helps us to be part of an exciting time in the evolution of travel,” said Sally Winfield, Chief Operating Officer for Accord. “We consider this work incredibly important to help us maintain high standards of service for our clients. Like GfK and CLIA, we consider marketing river cruise experiences to be an important part of our future. The study reveals that it is important to remember that river cruises are not only competing with one another but with other types of holidays – mainly with city breaks. As travel marketing experts we can use our wider industry knowledge to the advantage of our clients.”