The Voice of the Cruise Industry
Analysis

Cruise Summit 2024: Leaders share predictions for future of cruise

Jack Carter Cruise Summit
photo_camera “The fact that more travellers want to experience luxury, river and expedition shows that the messaging is landing," says Cruise Trade News' Jack Carter

Travel agents, marketing experts and tech leaders shared their predictions for the future of cruise during the 2024 Cruise Summit earlier this month. Will Payne and Jack Carter report

Automation. Augmented reality. Artificial intelligence. Phrases which 20 years ago were nothing more than space-age lexicon in a sci-fi blockbuster. Now, however, they’re engrained in our day-to-day conversations and reshaping industry around the globe. But what impact could these new technologies have on the cruise industry?

This was one of questions this year’s Cruise Summit, hosted by Cruise Trade News, set out to answer at its third annual conference in London earlier this month.

A jam-packed agenda, which was themed around the future of cruise, saw the likes of Google and Meta, alongside cruise industry leaders, debate how technology, booking priorities and the overall travel landscape will evolve over the next 12-18 months.

The sessions kicked off with an opening address from Real Response Media editorial director Lee Hayhurst, before CLIA UK & Ireland managing director Andy Harmer took to the stage to share the association’s latest membership research.

Harmer detailed the trade body’s key priorities for the next UK government. He told delegates that sustainability efforts need accelerating, with the party that wins the General Election on 4 July needing to play a central role.

The data focus continued with TravelTek chief commercial officer Cressida Sergeant diving into 2024 booking trends before Jack Carter, editor of Cruise Trade News (CTN), revealed the findings of the publication and sister consumer title World of Cruising’s extensive reader survey.

Cruise Summit 2024 ‘critical event’ for industry’s success

During the event, CTN caught up with several attendees to get their take on what the future may hold for the cruise industry. Adam Oldfield, CEO and founder of travel marketing platform Force24, would like to see the industry “strike better conversations” and improve relationships with consumers in the next five-to-10-years.

“I feel like the industry is extremely creative and passionate and we need to make sure that translates into our marketing,” he said. “We know more about the individuals, we hold more data about them, and we can produce better content which aligns to their needs.”

This was echoed by Hayley Moore, sales director UK and Europe for Princess Cruises, who hopes the cruise sector can continue to grow on recent record-breaking booking periods.

“There are so many advocates within the industry, whether you’re a tour operator or from another brand, there is such a community feel,” she added. “We need those advocates to continue being a positive voice. As we have a lot more ships, we’re going to need a lot more people on board.”

As we have a lot more ships, we’re going to need a lot more people on board

Meanwhile, Bernie Carter, who joined Atlas Ocean Voyages to lead the brand’s expansion into the UK last year, predicts small ship cruising will “reach new heights” in the next decade.

“The diversity you’ve got in the mainstream market will help bring more people into the small-ship sector,” he said. “Atlas is just one of the brands in the burgeoning expedition sector which is growing at an amazing pace. The customers are king, we all want to hear what they want – once they tell us, we’ll be the ones to go and find it for them.”

“It’s not so much about the general stats that we all have access to, but more about hearing from companies which provide the tech and innovation to bring the industry forward which is really useful,” he explained.

Visit cruisesummit.co.uk for images from the event, interviews with industry leaders and presentations from the lineup of expert speakers

Sign In

Lost your password?