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CLIA’s Andy Harmer: The key cruise trends in 2020

CLIA Andy Harmer, Cruise week

CLIA UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer looks ahead to 2020 and the trends that will shape the cruise industry.

There are two key themes being talked about in cruise for 2020, as well as in the wider travel sector. I am certain that agents have heard these come up at cruise events, on social media and via customers. Yes, the themes I’m talking about are technology and sustainability.

The developments and advancements in technology and sustainability within the industry are changing the guest experience as we know it, and the focus on both of these themes is only going to grow as we head into 2020.

Next year will see continued investment by cruise lines in technological developments to create smart ships, with the deployment of new apps, wearable technology and installation of high-tech experiences on board. As cruise lines find new ways to use technology in order to smooth the ship-to-shore experience, cruise holidays are changing to match how guests live at home.

Many cruise lines are enhancing their on-board wifi – adding electronic wayfinding boards and creating new technologies to be used by guests.

There are examples across the industry, such as the use of facial recognition, apps to pre-book elements of the cruise journey, new wearable technology that combines multiple functions in one piece of kit and in-stateroom voice-activated electronic assistants. This technology is being integrated to create a more seamless holiday experience and in 2020 and beyond we can expect to see these advancements continue.

Princess Cruises, Ocean Medallion, cruise, travel, technology,
Princess Cruises’ Ocean Medallion is a small, wearable device.

A cleaner future

The other key theme – sustainability – will be a hot topic in the coming years. Unprecedented progress has been made in implementing policies and practices over recent years.

CLIA cruise lines have invested more than $22 billion in ships with new, energy-efficient technologies and cleaner fuels, while also embracing new guest-facing policies such as the reduction of single-use plastics.

As people place growing importance on responsible tourism, agents must start preparing for questions that may come their way regarding sustainability by equipping themselves with stats and facts about the initiatives cruise lines are taking.

As we head into the next generation of cruise, much is changing in our sector and sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming keeping up to date with the latest developments. The annual CLIA Conference is a great way of getting to grips with everything that is happening in the industry.

Next year’s conference, taking place in Southampton on 26-28 April, will feature expert speakers from within and outside the industry. Their knowledge and expertise will prove invaluable to agents who are looking to grow their cruise business and seek confidence in answering questions customers may have regarding the latest technological advancements and sustainability projects.

Visit cruiseexperts.org for more information.

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