1.- How do you think the new technologies applied to tourism are evolving?
We are facing new models in the exchange of information in the tourism sector. Before you depended on a travel agent to guide you, advise you and finally, make the reservation of any tourism product, now the end user can autonomously and independently manage all his/her holidays from a single mobile device.
Initially, the travel agencies opted for customized solution implementations. However, the high costs and long implementation times have generated an increasing demand for “key on hand” solutions. For this reason, pure technology companies like ours – we only offer technological services – have evolved towards the creation of finished products at really affordable costs that allow the Travel Agencies to have the latest technology at hand. On the other hand and regarding the connections, the XML messaging remains a leader in the data exchange on the cruise ships.
With our Cruise Browser product we offer any travel agency the opportunity to have a cruise booking engine, that they can implement on their website immediately and without the need to invest in computer development costs.
Technology has given us freedom and, in the tourism sector, has meant a new way of business for the traditional travel agencies that have left the window behind and that have replaced it with on-line channels.
2.- How are the on-line cruise sales evolving?
Cruise sales on the Internet are difficult because of the complexity of the product and its cost. The pioneers tried, imitating the implementation of other tourism products such as hotels or flights, carrying out the booking process 100% online. However, as time went by, it was perceived that the end user does not have the same behavior before all the tourist products and that, in particular, the cruise is a product with which the customer feels more comfortable if, in the purchase part, he/she is guided by another person.
The trend in selling cruises is to use the on-line process to generate quotes or reservations as an option, continuing the sale through a Call Center where, in addition to informing on the chosen product, it may offer other additional services related to the cruise (transfers, flights, etc).
In the cruise sector, Spain is one of the markets that has increasingly evolved, even above other European countries theoretically more technologically advanced. Regarding the Latin American market, there are countries that are very interested in the cruise sales on the Internet while for others the implementation is practically nil.
On the other hand, we have recently noticed signs of interest in the on-line cruise sales in Eastern Europe and North Africa.
3.- What information can you give us about the complexity of this type of on-line sale?
The fact that many travel agencies are committed to offering a budget instead of confirm the booking online, can give us a little glimpse of the complexity of this type of Internet sales, both for the user and for the seller.
First, we have to understand that a cruise is not just booking a cabin, it is a product that can also include multiple services and even other additional tourist products (flights, hotels, transfers, excursions…).
When you book a cruise, you have to take several factors into account: the itinerary, the type of cabin, the category, the cabin number, the tips, the rates and the insurance.
The user may also have to make additional decisions such as selecting the meal shift or booking SPA services, among others. That is why it is complicated to be able to transmit all this information in a simple way for the user, the matter is more complicated if it is the first time he/she takes this type of holiday.
In addition to all the decisions the user faces in one purchase flow, he/she must also add the particularities of every Cruise Line with its own services and the specifications of every market. And not only that. Shipping companies work with off-line data for the availability and initial rates that makes every market and every shipping company have their own product download which is not automated.
Nor is there a standard that encompasses the Cruise Lines integrations, so every Cruise Line uses a different type of messenger, not all of them adhere to the OTA tourism standard.
All of this cocktail puts us in front of one of the most complicated integrations within the tourism sector.
With our different on-line solutions we have been able to homogenize all this information and make it accessible to travel agencies, tour operators or wholesalers in the sector so that, whatever their capacity, they can integrate the cruise product. Fibos and Cruise Browser allow you to open a new sales channel or automate the current one.