Shorex Update: Trends & New Product Development

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Carmen Morosan, Intercruises Global Shore Excursions Manager, discussed shorex trends and the new approach to product development as the cruise industry prepares to return, during ‘Seatrade Talks’, a series of 'curated video discussions' - watch it here

Carmen also took some time to expand on some of her answers: 

How has the COVID-19 situation affected product development? 

For Intercruises specifically, we have had the chance to stop, analyse and re-evaluate our global product portfolio – over 17,000 tours around the world. This is something we started doing last year with the introduction of the Intercruises Shorex Categories, but we have now accelerated and have identified areas where we may lack certain products, especially considering new shorex trends, and have adjusted our resources and efforts accordingly. Regarding new product development, our focus is in some key areas: 

• Value Product: We expect to see decreased spending power or willingness from cruise guests and so we are exploring entry level priced tours 

• Luxury Product: In contradiction to what was just said, we expect the luxury and expedition cruise market to return quite quickly, so are looking increasingly at luxury arrangements and private tour options 

• Domestic Market: Depending on how the situation develops, there could be a real need for experiences to appeal to domestic cruise guests, so we have identified different options in many destinations 

• Flexibility: We have seen cruise lines and airlines offer more flexibility to guests in terms of bookings, so we are exploring how this flexibility can be extended ashore by working closely with our suppliers on last minute changes 

• Small Group/Individuals: Due to the impact of social distancing on capacity, we are tailoring our product development to cater for small group, individual and private tour options 

Looking to the future, what shorex trends do you foresee? 

There are a few trends we expect to see, but I would like to highlight a few in particular: 

• Great Outdoors: As Julieanne Yee mentioned when discussing the future of shorex in Asia, experiences taking place outside, such as national parks, will be popular. We expect guests coming out of lockdown may be craving the chance to reconnect with nature, especially as there has been a trend recently of identifying ‘what is really important in life’ and this could translate into more demand for being in nature. It will also be easier for tour operators to implement social distancing in these sorts of settings. 

• Walking Tours: This type of tour is also good for social distancing, eliminating or minimizing vehicle transportation, and only operating with small groups of people, who can further social distance through the use of audio technology. 

• Wellness Experiences: In addition to a craving to reconnect with nature, the lockdown has made physical, psychological and emotional wellness a growing trend, so tours focusing on meditation, mindfulness, support groups and the giving back to community should also be popular 

• Local Economy: In-depth destination immersion was already a growing shorex trend, but we expect this to have accelerated as guests look to support local communities and economies recovering from the pandemic, in addition to learning about traditional pastimes and crafts. 

• Independent: Guests previously wanted to explore destinations more independently and we expect this will continue to grow in demand. We are looking at how we can provide solutions that enable this in the safest way and in way that allows guests to get the most form a destination 

• Rural: We see a shift towards rural areas instead of busy urban destinations, which further supports the ‘Great Outdoors’, ‘Local Economy’ and ‘Wellness Experiences’ trends.

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