It took a bit of time, but the Cruise.Me has set its sail and is on its way to becoming the ‘Airbnb’ of cruises, giving all of us an easier way of finding a great cruise that we want to be a part of. Beautiful countries. Interesting ports. Easy cruise bookings. It’s everything we hope that Cruise.Me will become in just a few years.
‘We Need a Bigger Platform’
…is what police chief Martin Brody would have said if Jaws took place in the world where Cruise.Me was created – our own! As Dhiensa pointed out in his interview, there are more than 2,000 embarkation ports around the world with dozens of cruise lines and ships and thousands of activities that take place on them. Akin to other industries that have still not had someone create an “Airbnb” of that industry, cruises are still very frustrating for those that want to book a cruise themselves. It hasn’t been easy for the team behind Cruise.Me, since they’ve been working on the project since 2013. On the other hand…
Only 10% of Cruises Are Booked Online
When compared to other hospitality industries, it’s fascinating how few cruise bookings of some of the most beautiful places in the world happen online. As co-founder Stephen Chip told Techcrunch while it was a challenge to develop the platform, they saw many big players in the space reach out to them regarding their technology. The technology behind Cruise.Me proved interesting, as a number of large cruise agencies as well as one major cruise line approached the team about licensing their platform.
The homepage of Cruise.Me is anything but complex. It’s actually pretty simple: an interactive map of locations and a list of cruises akin to services such as Booking or Airbnb. Each listing shows the number nights you’ll be on the cruise, the locations as well as the total number of ports and countries you’ll visit.
When you click on an individual page, such as the cruise that will take you from Brisbane to Sydney for $179 to $449, you get a lot of more detailed information, such as images as well as a detailed map of the cruise. You can get more information on each port as well as the ship you’ll be sailing on (its speed, size, number of passengers, etc.).
From there you’ll be taken to a booking form or shown information where to call in order for Cruise.Me to get you booked. While it might seem unorthodox for all of us used to pay everything online on websites such as Airbnb, it’s a still a big improvement for the cruise industry. It’s actually the best sign that Cruise.Me has a viable business in front of it if they can solve all these issues.
Why So Simple?
Of course, having an extremely simple interface is a good thing, as is developing a great service gradually in order to see what features users react to and which of them they don’t use at all. But that is obviously not the only reason Cruise.Me is simple from the start. As Chip noted, the booking systems for cruises are so primitive that any improvement, such as *gasp* having a website where you can book a cruise is a substantial improvement for the user
Cruise.Me is self-funded and has just set its sails toward becoming the Airbnb of the cruise industry. In just a few years, let’s hope that the guys behind this startup decide to book a cruise on their own platform, Cruise.Me, to visit our very own Spark.Me conference!