CruiseAppy, cruise technology: Peter Whittle

CruiseAppy CEO Peter Whittle: Changing how agents interact with customers

CruiseAppy CEO and co-founder Peter Whittle explains the idea behind a new app that aims to revolutionise how agents and customers interact.

How did the idea for the CruiseAppy technology emerge?

I’ve been involved in travel and cruise technology for about 12 years and I noticed that the buy rates online for cruise, compared with other travel products, were lower. It’s not a commodity product; it’s an emotional product that needs a lot of information and inspiration to help people select the right cruise.

And how did you go from that to your new app?

I saw the power of video and how that can help educate clients on why cruise is a great product. From a trend perspective, more and more holiday research happens via mobile devices.

Most agents have a website but you are competing on a playing field on Google with hundreds of other similar websites. I saw the opportunity to pull together the technology and video content into an app, along with powerful search tools and customer engagement functionality, and put that under the branding of the cruise agent. They then have that relationship with a client.

I’ve been testing the app for about a year with different agents. We’ve had 10,000 downloads of the app – it’s been that typical spell of building, learning and updating.

CruiseAppy: cruise technology, travel technology
CruiseAppy is completely branded to the agent

What does the app include and how does it work?

It’s for consumers, but it’s under the travel agency. For example, you wouldn’t go into the app store and search ’CruiseAppy’, but you would search for a cruise agency, for example. We’re enabling agents to have a professional app that they can offer to clients to sell more cruise.

It’s all within one environment. A lot of cruise lines have an app, and those apps are used on the cruise, but often they are disregarded afterwards.

We feature all the cruise lines and a price tracker. It can send a push notification to the cruiser, to say, ‘this has just gone down or up in the price, now is the time to contact your agent and book’. It also tells the agent what customers are tracking. That enables agents to speak to the cruise line and say, for example, ‘I’ve got people interested in this cruise, let’s work together on an offer’. They can then target those clients with push notifications.

What’s built into the app?

First is the inspiration part – the video content and the search function for a destination or cruise line. We also have content regarding the destination to offer deep information, such as restaurants, shopping, things to do. In addition, as we know the geo-location of the cruiser who is using the app, agents can send notifications highlighting things to do.

It maintains the relationship between the agent and the cruiser. There’s also a chat function, giving agents the chance to push particular product offers via the messaging option.

It’s on Google Play and the App Store. Commercially how it works is the travel agent will pay for the app to be developed for them – it is completely branded to them. The end client doesn’t pay.

What uptake have you had from agents?

We have just under 10,000 cruisers using the app [at time of writing]. The take-up has been great and we’re getting a lot of interest. Agents have said it will help them bring in new sales but it’s also about their relationships with existing clients. They can start to personalise the product.

As we build the community it can also become a powerful tool for ports and cruise lines, where they have a community of engaged cruisers who they can educate about the benefits of their port, itineraries, or the cruise line. The goal is to build the number of app users around the world so it becomes a community that’s valuable.

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