Cruises have typically been seen as a holiday for two sets of people: young families with children or teens, and retirees. In fact, demand seems to have been increasing so much that some cruise lines have begun to offer “adult only” cruises to their long list of available options.
However, these stereotypes don’t necessarily tell the full story. Using Hitwise data, we analyse different age groups visiting cruise sites and other holidays, to show why marketers need to lead with behaviour, rather than stereotype.
Young adults are increasingly showing interest in cruises
Cruises traditionally have been the travel domain of the older, retired traveller. Rightly so, with the 55+ age group drawing the largest share of visitors to cruise sites at 39%. Although smallest in audience share, the 18-24 age group is the fast growing segment, up 49% YoY.
This data does highlight the rising interest among young millennials, but cruises are seemingly yet to hit the mark with this demographic, and converting these visits into bookings. This is illustrated by millennial-focused cruise, U by Uniworld, recently scrapping their maximum age limit of 45, in order to accommodate for demand from older audiences.
Retirees are searching for adventure travel
Whilst we tend to associate cruises with the retirees, we also fall into the trap of stereotyping adventure seekers as a younger endeavour.
Again, Hitwise data shows this isn’t necessary the case. Whilst there is a higher share of 18-24’s searching for adventure holidays more than, say, cruise holidays (14% audience share, compared to 10% audience share), the fastest-growing group is in fact 55+, up 33% in audience share YoY.
The rise of the “Solo Traveler”
Another search that showed up with increasing volume was “solo travel”, with searches up 112% in the past two years. As we reached the end of the summer this year, the urge for some peace and quiet peaked, with searches for “solo travel” up 30% in August YoY.
What does this data tell us?
Digital behaviours help unveil fast-moving consumer trends before they enter the mainstream. In order to stay one step ahead, travel players need to keep a pulse on shifts in search trends and browsing behaviours.
The experience of U by Uniworld also shows that travel players need to delve much deeper into the motivations and interests (i.e. the why) behind a rising trend (i.e. the what). In other words, understand why there has been a growing demand for cruises by young millennials, why retirees are more interested in adventure, or why searches for solo travel have grown.
Additionally, this data also tells us that travel players require a multi-segmented approach; one that satisfies their core middle segment, such as the millennial adventurer, as well as drawing the interest and inspire fast-growing niche groups, like the retiree adventurer.
Having access to this data and knowledge allows travel companies to be agile and target segments the right times, as their searches take off.