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Cruisebound Raises $10M to Modernize Cruise Booking Experience – AlleyWatch

The pandemic and lockdowns have disrupted the travel industry, but no segment has been hit as hard as cruises. Before the pandemic, the industry employed nearly 2 million of her individuals and contributed over $154 billion to the economy. Despite the popularity of cruises, the industry has long focused on face-to-face travel agencies distributing less than 25% of the bookings made online. cruise bound is a cruise-focused, technology-enabled online travel agency that aims to bring the industry online with an experience built specifically for cruise booking. Focused on first-time cruisers, the platform serves as a one-stop destination for comparisons, pricing, itineraries and accommodation options in a simple, navigable and mobile-friendly experience. Traditional cruise bookings require travelers to spend hours researching and interacting with travel agents. As the industry charts a path to recovery in hopes of calmer seas, Cruisebound is focused on providing a fresh, new and young audience with a cruising experience.

alley watch Catch up with Cruisebound’s CEO and co-founder Pierre Olivier Lepage To learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, the latest funding round, and more…

Who are your investors and how much did you raise?

Cruisebound has closed a $10 million Series A, bringing its total funding to date to $12.7 million.Series A round led by former Booking Holdings Inc. chairman and CEO Jeff Boyd and PAR Capital VenturesBoyd joined Cruisebound’s board of directors. Other investors include his leader in his sort of top online travel and technology industries, including TripAdvisor co-founder Steve Kauffer. Steve Shin, founder of Concur. Dave Blundin, founder of Link Ventures and Cogo Labs. Flybridge Capital Partners; venture investors Ryan Moore and Jeff Fagnan; Alumni Venture; Joel Peterson Family Office; Plug and Play Ventures; and additional angel investors.

What products or services does Cruisebound offer?

Cruisebound is the easiest way to find, compare and book the best cruise deals on your mobile device or desktop. The brand targets young travelers and first-time cruisers looking for deals on their mobile devices.

Cruisebound aggregates deals from all major cruise companies so users can easily compare prices, itineraries, ship and cabin types. The service helps travelers get as far as possible by displaying personalized discounts based on demographics and other factors such as residency, age, military service, past cruise bookings, membership and available promotions. Helps you find the best prices. Average savings for eligible customers are 15-30%.

What inspired you to start Cruisebound?

When I first booked my cruise, I was amazed at how difficult it was to research and book online, almost impossible on a mobile device. My go-to travel site for booking flights and hotels was not designed to sell complex cruise products. am. We designed Cruisebound to sell cruises and cruises only. We offer a mobile-optimized and easy-to-use site, where young travelers prefer to find and book their vacations. Then combine instant booking from an online travel agency with live customer service from an offline agent.

How is Cruisebound different?

Cruisebound is designed to solve the pain points of researching and booking cruises online. The startup’s capabilities are unique in the industry and the differentiating features are:

  • Designed with the first cruiser in mind. Cruisebound guides travelers through the complex cruise booking process. This site contains sailing instructions, itinerary maps, destination highlights, deck plans, amenities, meals, activities, entertainment, inclusions, and cruising frequently asked questions to help users make informed decisions. will show you the relevant content you need. Filters refine options based on date, port of departure, duration, cruise line, cabin type, and price.
  • A mobile-first approach appeals to millennials and Gen Z travelers who prefer to search and book travel on their mobile devices. In a one-year test, 91% of Cruisebound purchases were made on mobile devices. The average age of cruise bound customers is 36 years old, which is significantly younger than the current average age of cruise customers.
  • Find qualifying deals with 15-30% savings. Travelers can unknowingly take advantage of promotional rates such as residential and senior discounts.
  • Combine the customer service of an offline agency with the price comparison and instant booking of an online travel agency (OTA).All bookings are backed by our Human Support Guarantee, ensuring world-class live post-booking customer service. Cruisebound Cruise Consultants are available by phone, text and email. The customer can hold the booking for free (holding time varies by cruise company and sailing) and buy now or he can pay later via Uplift.
  • OTA’s first multi-cabin reservation function. Cruisebound is A/B testing multi-cabin bookings. By adding multiple cabins to her shopping cart, users can efficiently plan vacations with friends and family for a quick and seamless checkout.
  • No booking feeUnlike most travel sites, Cruisebound does not charge a booking fee.

What is Cruisebound’s target market and size?

  • The cruise market is estimated to be $41 billion in 2022 (95% of 2019), growing 6% annually. Estimated according to CLIA 2022 State of The Cruise Industry Outlook.
  • Between 2017 and 2021, global retail m-commerce sales will grow from $1.4 trillion to $3.6 trillion, at a CAGR of 27%. Skift expects mobile travel sales to account for 30-40% of online travel sales and 15-25% of total global sales. —Mobile commerce in Skift travel

what is your business model?

Cruisebound makes money from booking fees.

How are you preparing for a potential economic slowdown?

First, we needed to secure enough capital to build our business. This funding will make that possible. From here on, building an efficient and profitable business is a top priority regardless of the economic situation. In an uncertain environment, being lean and focused on building the best possible customer experience is the best way to ensure success.

What was the fundraising process like?

The 2022 fundraising was very different from the 2021 seed round. Market uncertainty has led investors to focus more on unit economics and less on top-line growth.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in raising capital?

The biggest challenge was funding in a changing economic climate.

What factors in your business are driving investors to write you checks?

“Technology companies have improved the travel planning and booking process for consumers in flights, hotels, vacation homes and tours. Our experienced and innovative team strives to build the best consumer experiences in the world. “There is an opportunity to focus and scale on Cruisebound,” said Jeff Boyd, Cruisebound investor and former chairman and CEO of Booking Holdings Inc. “Cruisebound has recovered from the pandemic and is on record. We are confident that it will bring new customers to the industry of launching newbuildings at a competitive level.”

What milestones do you plan to achieve in the next six months?

Our goal is to build an efficient and profitable business. This will be achieved by focusing on improving unit economics and expanding our customer base. Crusiebound wants to turn non-cruisers into first-time cruisers by targeting first-time cruisers and young travelers with an easy-to-use mobile booking experience.

Our goal is to build an efficient and profitable business. This will be achieved by focusing on improving unit economics and expanding our customer base. Crusiebound wants to turn non-cruisers into first-time cruisers by targeting first-time cruisers and young travelers with an easy-to-use mobile booking experience.

What advice can you give to New York companies that haven’t injected fresh capital into their banks?

Without new capital for banks, they need to focus on expanding their business runway as much as possible and showing potential future investors that there is a path to positive unit economics. think.

Where do you see the company going now in the near future?

Our goal is to build an efficient and profitable business by focusing on improving unit economics and expanding our customer base by solving first-time cruiser pain points with technology.

Where is your favorite coffee shop or location in the city to hold a meeting?

Cruisebound works and meets in a coworking space. Outside of these coworking spaces, Soho Works in the Meatpacking District is my favorite place to hold meetings.

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