Two new websites have launched to capitalise on booming consumer interest in cruising. Travel retail group Jetset Travelworld is behind Thecruiseteam.com.au, which it’s using as a lead generator for 500 cruise specialists across its agency brands: Jetset, Travelworld, Harvey World Travel and Travelscene. Meanwhile, Cruiseguide.com.au has been started by Sydney online entrepreneurs Ron Hodge and Nigel Poole.
With a stronger focus on content, including user generated reviews and discussion forums, Cruiseguide.com.au has appointed Joanna Hall, for the past three years cruise columnist with Fairfax Media, as online editor. Ms Hall will also oversee its Facebook page, which already has 1400 ‘likes’. She will continue to co-run Ultimatetravelmagazine.com with her husband Ben Hall.
Co-owner Ron Hodge said he saw a great opportunity with the cruise sector. He and Mr Poole have successfully created a number of specialist online communities including Investsmart.com.au, which they sold to Fairfax in 2007. They see many similarities between users of both sites – baby boomers looking to invest wisely and travel.
Mr Hodge says Cruiseguide.com.au has entered into a revenue share arrangement with the Cruise Marketing Centre for booking fulfillment.
In other news, Celebrity Cruises has boosted its Australian cruise capacity by 50% in the 2014/15 season. Celebrity Cruises MD Gavin Smith told News Limited that Australians travelling to Europe are the company’s highest yielding travellers as they tend to buy premium accommodation and “probably drink a little bit more and have an extra beer or two than other countries”.