With the demand for cruises in India increasing, this mode of travel is increasingly being used for corporate events, anniversaries, honeymoons, and trips with friends. With each having its own requirements, experts from the industry share the kind of demands Indian cruise travellers have.
Anita Patni, Associate VP – Leisure, Thomas Cook India
FIT and group travel
As a travel agent, we know that the cruise market is evolving. Hence, we consider that there are certain experiences which may not be suitable for Indians. However, we should stay connected and keep looking at these evolved experiences and involve them in our itineraries. With groups, the logistics are Indian food, especially because we do a lot of South Indian departures, as well as departures from Gujarat and Maharashtra. There is a need for a tour manager also with these groups. However, all that is easily available, especially with ports like Singapore as a destination, where language is not a problem.
Today, people are looking at different experiences. Cruise is in itself a wholesome product for the customer, because it allows you free time, a lot of shows, and activities for children. However, Indian travellers want to do sightseeing and a lot of activities. They can’t just be on a cruise and do nothing. Hence, cruise companies can offer more enhanced shore excursions and more cruise & land combinations. Today, customers are looking for different things to do beyond cruising. We hardly get any bookings for stand-alone cruises. We include at least a minimum of two days on land for activities.
Nagsri Prasad Sashidhar, Chief Happiness Officer, NAGSRI – Creating Special Memories
Luxury customers usually combine cruise and land. It’s very important to understand what the client really wants, because different clients would want different things, provided there is no paucity of time. Some only want to do cruises and some would also want land and cruise packages. However, as travel advisors, when our clients come to us and ask for a cruise holiday, it is our responsibility to ask them if they would like to upgrade the entire experience. We can tell them that they are anyway going for a 5-night itinerary or a 3-night itinerary on cruise, they can include a destination before or after the cruise. It is important for us to broach the topic to the client, as it is vital to keep a tab with the luxury clients. A destination like Singapore has a lot of activities and facilities for clients to indulge in.
Another important thing for luxury clients is that everything needs to be sorted for them at every stop of travel and also during the journey. As travel providers, we have to get things done for them at every port and in every country. It becomes seamless when everything is sorted, and hence we prefer destinations that can offer us facilities like that.
Michael Lyngdoh, Founder, Tripoto
Gen-Z travellers are from a generation that has grown up with the internet, is tech-savvy, and highly influential on social media. In fact, in the last few years, there has been a rise in micro communities, especially of people aged 30. This means that they bond over specific authentic experiences and have more wanderlust than even the millennials to try new things.
This means that firstly we need to focus more on social media. Platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are more effective than traditional mediums. On an average, there are 300 million posts daily on these platforms with the hashtag travel. This audience is also most likely to be influenced by other people as opposed to celebrities. This is the reason why there is a huge uptake in the number of social media influencers, as they cater directly to Gen-Z or the millennial audience. Gen-Z is also highly goal-oriented and loves sharing their experiences and achievements online. If travel agents want to design products or itineraries, they need to think of designing bucket list itineraries.