Cruise was by far Australia’s fastest-growing travel category during 2013 with a 23% increase through the year in consumer search queries, Google has revealed. This compares with 15% growth for accommodation and general travel, a 13% boost to air traffic and a 10% rise in car rental queries.

Google’s Head of Travel, Ross Mcdonald, said Australian cruise searches are becoming more focussed on on prices with recent growth in “cheap/generic” package terms.

He said another significant characteristic of cruise search is the high proportion of brand terms used by consumers, particularly Princess, P&O Cruises, P&O Cruise, Carnival Cruises and Ozcruising.

Destinations were also a key search option with Australia and Europe figuring highly.

Other trends include:

  • High level of seasonality – cruise traffic starts to ramp up in October and peaks during January.
  • 46% of cruise searches start on a smartphone, 37% on a PC or laptop and 17% via a tablet.
  • 14% of cruise search result in an online purchase compared with 44% for all of travel.

Higher levels of online cruise purchase are inevitable, he concluded.

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