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Traveltek rides on wave of river cruise boom

Traveltek rides on wave of river cruise boom

Traveltek Group Ltd is making its presence felt in the booming river cruise market with demand for its specialist technology at an all-time high.

More river cruise lines and operators are partnering with the Glasgow-headquartered travel tech giant than ever before as they look to boost their distribution capabilities to leading cruise agencies.

UK-based Emerald Waterways and US firm Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection are amongst the major industry players to take advantage of Traveltek’s solutions as they look to capitalise on unprecedented market demand for river cruise products.

The tech firm provides them with a powerful distribution platform, giving agents access to live availability, pricing and online booking functionality for all their products via their Traveltek-powered websites or point-of-sale systems.

“We are making it quick and easy for river cruise lines to do business with agents at a time when their products and services are in hot demand,” said Peter Whittle, Global Sales Director, Traveltek.

“By transforming these cruise agents into a knowledge hub river cruising, we are giving travel professionals more confidence to sell their products, which is driving further industry growth and of course, generating more business for Traveltek.”

Whittle added: “Agents are also realising the value of our technology, because we not only give them the ability to search multiple river cruise lines to find the best cruise to meet the needs of their clients, but offer them the chance to combine this with our dynamic packaging engine, generating more revenue-earning opportunities by upselling connecting flights, pre- and post-cruise stays, and more. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

Emerald Waterways has implemented Traveltek’s iSell solution, which enables agents to search and book the line’s European river cruises via an easy-to-use, web-based platform.

Travel professionals are now also offered expanded access to Uniworld’s live content via the Traveltek platform through solutions including iSell and the Cruise API. This not only includes Uniworld’s luxury products, but its soon-to-be-launched U by Uniworld brand, which targets young travellers aged 21 to 45.

This partnership has also led to the development of a new user-friendly tech feature: a bespoke river cruise search button that takes into account river cruise terminology and features that are unique to river cruise boats, including deck and cabin structure.

River cruise demand has never been so buoyant, with passenger number growth hitting the double digits in 2016, up 11% on 2015, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Cruise lines are responding by building new vessels at pace. CLIA members currently deploy 184 river cruise ships with 13 more on order for 2017, an increase of around 7% year-on-year.

Europe remains the most popular market with 1.36 million passengers cruising on the continent’s rivers in 2016, up 2.7% on 2015, according to Seatrade.

“Traveller demand for river cruises is growing at a faster rate than for ocean cruises and in the UK alone, is one of the fastest-growing travel sectors overall,” said Whittle.

“We anticipate ramping up this aspect of our business in a short time frame as operators look to distribute their products in the most efficient manner possible.”

Traveltek provides agents and tour operators with live access to 300-plus suppliers including hotels, airlines, ancillaries and a long list of ocean and river cruise lines that includes Uniworld, Emerald Waterways, APT, Scenic Tours, AMA Waterways, Avalon, APT Cruising, Viking and G Adventures, to name a few.

Peter Whittle has written an insightful blog entitled ‘Riding the wave of the river cruise boom’. Click here to read the full article. The media is invited to publish this blog or excerpts from it. Peter is also available for interview.

Traveltek’s commitment to the river cruise market is demonstrated by its headline sponsorship of the CLIA River Cruise Convention, which takes place in Amsterdam from November 18 to 19.

The company is also sponsoring one of the award categories at the event’s prestigious River Cruise Awards.