Chris Owen Has Just Posted the Following:
Getting an idea of what we might have in mind before contacting a travel agent is a good idea when planning a cruise vacation.# A simple Internet search of a variety of cruise line websites can give us a familiarity with what is being offered in much the same way as flipping through travel brochures might have in the past.# Recently, most major cruise lines have made a real effort to have their online presentations be user-friendly but some stand out as being ahead of the rest.
Just this week, Cunard Line has revitalized its entire media portfolio with a fresh enhanced look for the homepage and the We Are Cunard blog.# Adding a new Queen Mary 2 infographic and the line’s third Interactive Voyage, where Facebook users review and suggest daily activities during a Queen Mary 2 trans-Atlantic Crossing , attracted nearly 50,000 interactions and comments.# The line also invites visitors to Follow them on Twitter, Join them on Facebook, Visit their You Tube Channel,# Read the latest Cunard Blog,# Join the Cunard circle on Google+ and Register for Special Offers.
”Research tells us that more and more guests begin their journeys with us online, checking out our website, interacting on Facebook or reading the blog.# Keeping our online material fresh, accessible, engaging and relevant is the best way to bring the whole voyage experience to life, and gives people a sense of how special a Cunard voyage really is,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line.
The revitalized website also has a faster site speed, typical of other cruise line rebuilt websites and is guided by recent research findings.# It prioritizes improvements to the visitor experience, featuring better search engine optimization, and flash-free slideshows that can display on iPhones and iPads.
There is good reason for Cunard to make the effort too: unique visitor numbers to the website increased by 35% in 2011, a trend the new design seeks to further accelerate.# On the social media side, there have been over 750,000 views of Cunard’s YouTube channel to date, the Cunard blog has had over 777,000 visits from 200 countries since 2009 and Cunard’s Facebook page has just reached 55,000 fans, while the brand has over 7,000 Twitter followers.
AMA Waterways, a river cruise line, also added rich graphics on its newly-refurbished website, adding a similar user-friendly feel to what it does.
“As AmaWaterways focuses on helping travel agents become experts on selling river cruise vacations, our new website provides up-to-date information, stunning graphics and easy navigation,” AmaWaterways President and Co-Owner Rudi Schreiner said, reports ExpertClick. “We designed every aspect around the warm and welcoming culture of AmaWaterways and we will continue to deliver top-notch service on and off line.”
Carnival Cruise Lines too continues to upgrade it’s online presence, most recently revealing a revamped business meeting site with far more functionality than before, making planning a meeting easy.# Royal Caribbean also updated their online meeting and incentive business website for a more user-friendly feel.
Royal Caribbean has introduced a corporate meetings, incentives and charters online web portal, RoyalCaribbeanIncentives.com aimed at meeting planners and travel buyers which offers cruise search, request-for-proposal functionality and a resource center,# aimed at providing meeting planners with the tools to plan and execute successful events at sea.
Consumer sites for both lines are more interactive than ever too.# Easy-to-use search tools ask the right questions then deliver more accurate answers when potential cruise passengers want to explore options available to them.# That’s good information to have when contacting a travel agent who will work on our behalf to get us the best value then follow up throughout the booking cycle to continue and grow that value.
Want to be armed with all the information your travel agent needs to get you the very best value possible, then follow up afterwards to be sure that value remains the best you can hope for?# When visiting cruise line websites, collect the information they need to be able to compare what you have seen to all available offers, some of which you might not have access to:
If possible, complete the booking process on the cruise line website, stopping just short of paying anything, to get the complete price and details of what you find attractive.# Cruise lines invariably do not include all fees or elements of pricing in the “teaser” rate we see that catches our attention.
- Name of the ship
- The Sailing Date
- The Category of the cabin you priced
- Complete details of any offer you see, any price you find
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