Demand for cruises is up, in particular, themed and specialty cruises. Aside from a cruise like Seabourn’s “World Cruise“, most cruises focus on a particular geographic region and thus could be considered ‘specialty’ (even so – ‘The World’ seems like a valid theme too). Navigating the waters (sorry) of this space can be overwhelming for someone just looking for an exciting vacation, so demand for cruise specialists is up – and Inc.com has named cruising among the top 8 eight industries for starting a business. What…did you think we were going to say you should start your own cruise line?
Inc.com (via Julie Strickland) explains that demand is up for travel professionals well briefed in specialty cruises and there are few barriers to entry. However, that business environment also tends to be very competitive, with new travel agencies popping up every day. There will always be competition with big travel sites, but someone looking to drop $10,000 or more on a cruise likely prefers a more personalized service with an expert in cruises.
The low-end market is well taken care of through the major travel sites, it’s the high-end, luxury market that has the most potential for business growth. Also, differentiating your business as one that provides extraordinary customer service through extensive product knowledge (e.g. If there are 3 cruise lines that have cruises to the Galapagos Islands, who is the best and why?) and personal treatment (e.g. If I like caviar after watching island turtles all day, which line is the best of both worlds?).
Lots of travel agencies try to set themselves apart, but very few actually do.
What does your agency do in order to cater to potential cruisers and set your company apart?