The Young and Rich Are Booking Travel Online by Land or by Sea

Monday, August 4th, 2014
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Target young affluent travelers seeking cruise ship and adventure vacations.

Young, affluent travelers are finding their next adventures online.

Craving experiential and eco-tourism vacations, affluent millennials are handling their luxury vacation details themselves with apps, social media and websites vs. using travel agents. Taking note that over a third of them book their travels online, cruise lines are adapting their business models to appeal to younger consumers.

The fact that 80% of all cruise packages are currently booked through travel agents has cruise lines scrambling to beef up their online presence. The new generation’s growing preference for mobile booking is forcing them to also make online interactions more mobile-friendly. Visuals play a huge role in the online experience and not just as seen on travel company websites, but also across social media platforms.

Millennials are also diving deep into online vacation research, whether by land, air or sea, which is causing cruise operators to adjust their cruising experiences accordingly. Younger travelers tend to take shorter trips with groups of friends in pursuit of adventure. The perception among many is that cruises are boring and too pre-programmed. The changing reality is that luxury cruise lines are already offering packages designed for younger passengers.

Norwegian now offers cross-generational “Freestyle Cruising.” Crystal, a luxury liner, is carving out shorter segments on 12-night cruises to accommodate travelers not quite ready for longer trips. The average age of those hopping onboard for shorter stints is 10 years younger than the other guests. Many cruise lines are offering three-to-five night cruises out of South Florida while many international companies are offering cruises to party destinations like Cannes, Ibiza and Mykonos.

The bottom line for cruise lines is that they need to turn the ship around to meet the needs of a new affluent, time-strapped, thrill-seeking generation. They also need to get the message out that their new cruises are Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile. Cruise operators can counter this perception with a multichannel strategy promoting new amenities geared for younger travelers such as skydiving, zip lines and observation spheres that tower over the new ships.

Direct mail featuring groups of youthful partiers on the ship’s deck having a totally awesome time supported by email and digital display messaging can compel a group of young professionals to set sail. The key is carving out an audience of young travelers with big vacation budgets and friends wishing to join them. A combination package of Wealth Window Young Affluents, Luxury Travelers and Wealth Connections can help with that.

Let me know if I can help book your next audience of affluent young travelers!


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