Skift Take

Cruise lines were set to have a banner year in 2020, but coronavirus and resultant ship quarantines are putting that in doubt. No one knows what the long-term impact will be.

Whether you are a home-based travel advisor or you work in a large office servicing high-profile accounts, the Travel Advisor Innovation Report will have you covered with the trends, news, and features you’ll need to stay on top of an ever-changing marketplace.

The news Sunday that the U.S. State Department is recommending that travelers not go on cruises is certainly an ominous sign for the industry.

Travel advisors had been seeing some attractive booking incentives for cruises, especially on close-in sailings. It was unclear whether most of those were due to coronavirus or are just part of the usual offerings that crop up during wave season. While some cruise lines are relaxing cancellation policies, fares are holding steady.

How long will cruise lines be able to hold the line on pricing, especially now with the State Department directive? The prospect of getting quarantined on board a ship, most recently illustrated by the Grand Princess stuck in limbo outside San Francisco Bay,  is no doubt giving pause to potential cruisers.

Most cruise experts, however, expect the cruise industry to bounce back quickly once the crisis abates. They point to the resiliency of an industry that has weathered other disasters, including infectious diseases.

For more coverage of pertinent issues, click here.

Any suggestions for the coverage you would like to see are welcome. Feel free to contact me at [email protected].

— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor

Featured Story

Cruise Lines Relax Cancellation Policies, Hold the Line on Coronavirus-Related Discounts: While dealt a blow by coronavirus, the cruise industry is managing to hold the line on pricing, at least for now. The long-term impact of the crisis remains to be seen, but the cruise industry has weathered many others in the past.


Promoting Tourism in the Time of Coronavirus is a No-Win: Tourism marketers are facing somewhat of a conundrum: The optics of tourism campaigns during widespread panic can fall flat, but failing to market low-risk destinations may make a bad problem even worse.

Battered Asia Travel Sector Exits High Season to Regroup for Eventual Recovery: It’s likely to get worse before it gets better for the Asian tourism industry. But forward-thinking players will know to take advantage of the current downtime to meet the pent-up demand for travel once recovery comes — which may not be far off.

Why Asia Is Still the Future of Travel in a Post-Coronavirus World: Understanding the geopolitics of Asia and how it intersects with the world will make you understand why travel is resilient — and why its center will continue to be in Asia — in a post-coronavirus world.


Hotels Strive to Get Savvier About Forecasting Total Revenue: Software may be eating the world, but in hotel tech it’s still munching on the appetizers. Hotels have only begun to automate operational forecasts, such as how much revenue restaurants on a property may bring in or how much group business a hotel might steal from a crosstown rival.

Airbnb, Expedia and Others Agree to Landmark Data Sharing Deal with European Union: It’s hard to know whether greater transparency will benefit or hinder these short-term rental platforms. Might lawmakers use the information as a stick to wield over the industry?

How Hyatt’s Miraval Resorts Are Tuning In to Sound Healing: If you have been noticing more spas offering treatments that incorporate Tibetan singing bowls, tuning forks, or gongs, you aren’t alone. Sound therapies are starting to make waves in the spa industry.

Booking Sites

Latin America’s Despegar Will Have to Navigate Coronavirus Currency Impact: Coronavirus has caused turmoil in the global financial markets, which has devalued several key currencies and made foreign trips costlier. But devaluation may also make potential acquisition targets cheaper for Despegar, the region’s largest online travel agency.

Meetings & Events

Coronavirus Concerns Overshadow Eventbrite’s Strong Year-End Finish: Eventbrite closed 2019 stronger than expected, but the company’s stock still stumbled after last week’s earnings call. The events industry is clearly at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

>> Keep up with the latest on the cruise industry on our Coronavirus and Cruises page.</strong

News You Should Know

More Bad News for Cruise Industry: State Department Advises U.S. Citizens Against Taking Cruises

Thousands May Have Been Exposed to Coronavirus on Grand Princess

Amtrak Waives Change Fees, Ups Cleaning Protocol

Virgin Voyages Cancels Pre-Launch Events in New York City

Egypt Reopens Ancient Pyramid After Renovations

Climate Change Activists Raise Objections to Frequent Flyer Programs

Athens Opens First Major Museum for Contemporary Art

Skift Travel Advisor Editor Maria Lenhart [[email protected]] curates the Skift Travel Advisor Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday. Have a story idea? Or a juicy news tip? Want to share a memo? Send her an email.

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Tags: cruises, hotels, meetings and events, tourism, travel advisor innovation report, travel agents

Photo credit: The Grand Princess, shown sailing into San Francisco Bay, is the most recent ship to be quarantined. Peter Muller / Princess Cruises

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