The day when 100% of all cruises and vacation packages are booked
online is far, far away - and may never come - according to a new
survey by PhoCusWright.
The complexity of arranging all of the components of cruises and
travel packages is hampering a quick technological solution,
PhoCusWright stated in its Online Travel Marketplace 2001-2003
These travel products represent a small amount of online travel
sales, accounting for just $420 million of the $14.5 billion of
travel booked online in 2000, or 3% of all online and offline
cruise and vacation package sales.
Cruise lines sell less than 1% of their product online, the
study said. PhoCusWright, however, said that the lines' web sites
are "impressive decision influencers." For instance, Royal
Caribbean International said it estimates that 60% to 70% of all
travelers are using the Web for data collection.
PhoCusWright revealed that consumers who have never used travel
agencies - which account for almost all cruise sales - learn about
cruising from the Web and become new customers.
The survey also noted:
" When buying cruises or vacation packages on the Web, consumers
continue to execute that decision, by and large, over the phone,
with a human being.
" A sale begun on the Web and completed offline has a far higher
and faster close ratio than one originating in another distribution
" Cruise and vacation packagers have been waiting 20 years for
technology with the sophistication and graphic capability to manage
complex combinations of multiple components and to present a rich
experience, in living, interactive color. The Web, said
PhoCusWright, is that technology.
" Online cruise/vacation sales are expected to jump 460% in
three years to reach $2.4 billion by 2003.