Cruise Circle owners Jason Daniels and Danielle Nemeth have launched a new online-only brand, called Discount Cruises.
The concept was first considered in mid-2020 during the early months of the pandemic, but was put on hold to allow the cruise specialist to focus on servicing and retaining their customer base, according to a statement.
Discount Cruises will be a self-service online bookable OCTA “for the tech savvy customer who doesn’t need (or want) interaction with a human travel agent”, the company added.
There will be dedicated marketing and product management in place for the Discount Cruises launch and all aspects of booking management and customer care will be facilitated by the existing Cruise Circle back-office team.
The site will initially launch with 10 online bookable cruise lines, including MSC Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises.
The long-term goal is to integrate all ocean cruise lines that have the technology available.
The company said that while river cruise lines “are not yet on the roadmap… nothing is being ruled out”.
Discount Cruises will be promoted across the online marketplace, including deal sites such as Travelzoo, display and affiliate networks, consumer research and review sites and other online travel environments.
Customers will benefit from instant confirmation, as well as the ability to manage their bookings and make payments online. Customer care will initially be via email and a contact form, with a chat support function under development.
‘Meeting growing demands of cruise clients’
Managing director Daniels said: “As technology has evolved, so have people’s expectations of it. Having a fully responsive, content rich 24-hour online bookable e-commerce platform will allow us to meet the growing demands of both the existing cruise market and those new to it.
“While offering a discount to buy a travel product online versus offline is not ground-breaking, we feel there is an opportunity to deliver a discount message in a consistent and transparent way.
“We will be 100 per cent clear that the reason we are offering a discount off the ‘normal’ price is that the entire booking transaction is completed online – a true online-only discount.
“Our value proposition and marketing communications will be clear that we are not discounting the product, we are discounting the price because of how the booking is made.”
Sales and customer services director Danielle Nemeth added: “There will be no obvious connection between our two brands from a consumer perspective and Cruise Circle will continue to evolve and grow as a full-service cruise specialist.”