Cruise.co.uk unveils plans to advertise through traditional media. Hollie-Rae Brader reports from the agency’s annual conference in Villars, Switzerland.

Online cruise agent Cruise.co.uk is turning to print advertising for the first time to reach a wider pool of potential clients.

The Worcestershire‑based agency believes using “traditional” channels could help drive new business, complementing its social media and email marketing strategy.

Its senior management team is also touting the idea of a TV ad campaign later this year.

Speaking at the agency’s annual conference in Villars, Switzerland, Cruise.co.uk managing director Chris Gardner said the print campaign would launch this weekend as a trial but said that he hoped it would continue long-term.

Cruise.co.uk’s first print advertisement will run in the Daily Mail in Saturday’s travel section, with further ads booked for the following three weeks. Each ad will focus on one of two cruises in partnership with the relevant cruise lines.

“We are very successful on our online channels,” Gardner said.

“But we know it’s important we look for more customers using more-traditional channels too.

“There’s an opportunity for us to capitalise from press and TV. We’re looking at both channels and how we develop those.

“If print works well for us, we will continue on that journey as a way to reach new consumers.

“We’re lucky enough to have a lot of intelligence on what works through feedback we get from clients on our email programme.”

Gardner worked on TV campaigns in his previous roles at Which? and Cancer Research UK. He said Cruise.co.uk was more likely to run ads on cable channels rather than terrestrial TV, and said his aim was to “do this in the most‑targeted way possible”.

Currently Cruise.co.uk and its German business, Kreuzfahrtberater, have a combined email database of “way over” 700,000 “cruise-interested individuals”.

The group reported that it recorded 9.7 million visits to its website in 2018, with 153 million page views and 20 million on-site searches.

Gardner added: “The average time spent on our site is eight minutes and that’s a very strong number. We know that driving engagement through content is really important and it works for us.”