AI for Cruise Reviews
Cruisewatch delivers value by summarizing cruise reviews with AI. Specifically, the startup company classifies reviews into positive and negative aspects so users can quickly understand the information. "No two customers are the same. We splice the data based on the type of customer so that travel experts can make high-quality proposals to their clients," said Markus Stumpe, CEO of Cruisewatch. Before starting Cruisewatch, Stumpe worked at TUI for 15 years in product management roles. TUI is a travel business listed on the London Stock Exchange that operates in Germany, the United Kingdom (UK), and other countries.
In addition to organizing user review data, the startup company offers data services and price services. For instance, Cruisewatch offers price alerts, price history, and price prediction tools. Cruisewatch currently has cruise price data in four countries: Australia, Germany, the United States (US), and the UK. By offering price tools, Cruisewatch offers features that have long been available for plane travel and hotels from tools like Kayak.com and AirHint.com.
Cruisewatch has an extensive cruise price database that includes 30 million price changes dating back to 2013. Based on this database, the startup company will be positioned to make predictions.
However, the pandemic may render historical price information less useful due to changes in the cruise business. Several cruise lines went bankrupt in 2020 as public health measures to combat COVID-19 led to a global suspension of cruise travel. For example, Jalesh Cruises India, a one-ship cruise business, went bankrupt. In the UK, Cruise and Maritime Voyages also went bankrupt, and its ships have been auctioned off. As a result, cruise price data from those cruise lines will no longer have much value. In the short term, the cruise business may continue to offer special discounts to lure back passengers.
Serving Travel Agents
Cruisewatch aims several of its AI products directly at travel agents. For example, the startup provides an alternative sailing offering that generates other sailing possibilities for passengers. A cruise travel agent could use this AI capability to sell different cruise tickets to customers and compete against travel search engines.
By building technology for travel agents, the AI startup company is betting that the travel agent industry will stay strong since businesses in this industry suffered significantly in the past year. An August 2020 survey by the American Society of Travel Advisors reported in Travel Pulse that most travel agencies had lost over half of their business income in 2020. In addition, most travel agencies also laid off or furloughed employees last year.
Cruisewatch has raised $1 million in startup funding from two investors: Enjoyventure Management and VentureVilla Accelerator. Enjoyventure Management is a private equity business based in Germany that invests in early-stage companies. VentureVilla, also based in Germany, supports companies like GameBuddy (a video game startup company) and QuizCo (an education startup company for teachers and students).
About the Author
Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book "Project Managers At Work" shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.