CruiseDirector is an online platform for travelers to book luxury ocean, river, yacht and expedition cruises with no booking
fees and a best price guarantee.
The site includes videos, image galleries, maps, weather feeds, reviews and even inspection scores from the Centers for Disease Control to help users find cruises that meet their needs.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your
CruiseDirector has launched an elegant and responsive
website with a powerful filtered search and enriching content that will enable
consumers to book their cruise online, 24/7, in six steps and in less than five
minutes. Consumers can also chat or call one of our certified luxury travel
experts to book.
What inspired you to create this company?
We noticed there was growth in the luxury, expedition and
river cruise markets, while, at the same time, there was a lack of viable
online options for inspiring, researching and booking luxury cruises.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,
Threats) analysis of the company.
- Strengths: We’re a passionate and experienced team with a
deep understanding of the cruise industry. CruiseDirector.com has a strong URL,
an intuitive user interface and responsive design, inspiring video, image
gallery and editorial content. We also boast a powerful “Google‐like” search,
filters and a capable service team. We have already won the 2019 Travel Weekly
Magellan Award for Overall ‐ Trip Planning.
- Weaknesses: New/unknown brand.
- Opportunities: We foresee expanding to include concierge
services that offer hotel, ground transportation, flights and excursions; a
multilingual site to serve non‐American customers; a paid loyalty club;
vacation financing; and social media integration.
- Threats: Recession, hurricanes, geopolitical unrest.
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate
from both the customer and the industry perspective?
There are several. First, there’s a lack of online cruise
planning sites with inspiring and honest content on luxury lines, ships,
destinations and departure ports. Our site includes video, image galleries,
maps, weather feeds, reviews, CDC scores, etc. - essentially everything a
consumer needs to know about a cruise, presented beautifully and concisely.
Before CruiseDirector, customers were often persuaded to buy cruises from telemarketers
that were a poor fit. Customers wasted precious time and money and missed
opportunities for the vacation of a lifetime. Our enriching and honest content
and expert staff will make sure the customer is picking the right product based
on their wants and needs.
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Second, in the online vacation planning space, there’s a
lack of passionate, consistent and trained/certified staff to service
customers. Many agencies use host agents with inconsistent service levels and
Third, there’s little to no consumer confidence in cruise
pricing. We offer a best-price guarantee and price assurance should the price drop
after the customer has booked a cruise. We also offer a 24/7 concierge service
that you can reach out to from anywhere in the world at any time so you are
never “on your own."
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of
We have acquired a list of 500,000 cruisers to email on
weekly basis. We’re also experts at search marketing, and we’ll make sure we
organically rank for search terms like "world cruises,” "Galapagos
cruises,” etc. We also plan to maximize
social and partner marketing opportunities.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a
genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
We’ve had extensive conversations with luxury cruise
industry veterans and have studied industry research on the growing luxury,
expedition and river cruise market. Based on our research, we’re confident that
there’s a sizable market out there looking for the services our site offers.
How and when will you make money?
Immediately. We earn commissions from the travel suppliers
we sell with each booking through CruiseDirector.com. We will also soon
introduce a standalone travel club to our customers, at a fee. That will be a
second revenue stream.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the
founding team, and why do you have what it takes to succeed with this business?
CruiseDirector is composed of an Inc. 5000 award‐winning
team with a combined 50 years in cruise travel and internet ventures! We have
the expertise and the knowledge to provide our customers an incomparable luxury
cruise planning service.
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business
So far, the challenge has been staying focused on the launch
without adding additional consumer-facing features too soon. We will be adding
some more features in the future, and we’re quite excited about them, but we
want to be sure they’re user‐friendly and worthy of our site. We’re careful not
to jump the gun.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making
an impact ‐ so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
We are a very passionate and experienced team with deep
understanding of the cruise industry. People make or break a business and I’m proud to say that everyone on
our staff - from the customer service representatives to our top executives to
our web designers - are first class.
PhocusWire Startup Stage
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