How Cruisewatch is using AI to give Aussie consumers a better deal

The digital cruise consultant relies on the use of artificial intelligence, mathematical forecasting, and big data analysis

Cruisewatch is bringing its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered cruise search engine to Australia — something it says is the first of its kind in the region.

Cruisewatch was founded in 2016 by two travel and tech experts and has grown consistently over the last four years. The digital cruise consultant relies on the use of artificial intelligence (AI), mathematical forecasting and big data analysis to power its predictions. Everything is fully automated, based on data and self-learning. 

The cruise platform gathers massive amounts of data, to the tune of over 100,000 price points daily, so holidaymakers can find their preferred cruise at the perfect price. The search engine also offers customers a free price drop monitoring service when signing up.

Over the last four years, German-based Cruisewatch has amassed more than 100 million relevant data points to inform consumers of the best time to book a cruise and save up to 80 per cent on the price in the process. It has operated with success in the US and now hopes to repeat the same success here in Australia--in a market it says is complicated and fragmented.

Cruisewatch told CMO it recently raised funds for its AI efforts to offer forecasting for when a cabin type is close to selling out, and to create a more sophisticated price prediction model. 

It has also received subsidies for creating a new self-learning recommender system for finding the perfect cruise holiday for each individual customer. This system will be developed based on its own neural network by partnering with the technical University of Leibniz in Hannover. 

“We are very excited about taking the next steps to implement AI-based solutions for forecasting price movements, cabin availability, and the perfect match for each individual customer. These new services will change the future of digital cruise consulting, as we can offer data-based and fully individualised and automated services,” Cruisewatch CEO and co-founder, Markus Stumpe, said. 

“These services include offering the customer the right product at the right time, such as upselling opportunities based on individual needs.

“For our service, we always try to find the most efficient approach. For some parts, we strictly use available infrastructure from third-party vendors. In other fields, we are partnering with scientists to research for proprietary solutions based on neural networks and other AI technologies.”

The startup considers itself customer-focused, and as such relies heavily on word of mouth referrals to disrupt the cruise industry.

“Our approach is fully customer oriented,” Stumpe said. “Although the interest in cruises is actually increasing in Australia, there is no data-driven service that compares various sources and informs the customer about every price variation. We have changed that by launching Cruisewatch and we will further implement the unique AI-based features in the upcoming months to disrupt the industry. 

“We are fully customer-centric and want to give our users the best data-driven advice possible - and not just selling the cruise with the highest commission for us. Our customers honour that and trust us and this is our marketing."  

Cruisewatch is gauging its success by measuring not only by quantitative factors such as traffic, conversions or stored price data points, but also by higher-level goals like user satisfaction and successful cooperation with partners.

"This is the most sustainable way our product can grow on a long-term basis,” Stumpe said.

Cruisewatch offers over 10,000 trips, more than 25 cruise lines and destinations across the globe. In the past, the company concentrated on the American cruise market, however, cruises are growing in popularity in Australia, and it considers the market ready for a new kind of data-driven service.

Cruisewatch said the Aussie market is particularly scattered and often not transparent enough, so it aims to introduce a new level of clarity. 

“With the launch, we’re also giving Australian cruise lovers the opportunity to benefit from our unique data system,” Stumpe added. “We’re very proud of the last four years. Nevertheless, there is no standing still for us. We’re constantly working on developing new data-driven services and on further enhancing our cruise advisory.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia. 

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