As the world returns to its new normal, so are things at River Cruise Advisor. The past month has been one of extreme productivity for us. Before the pandemic hit, we were working hard at redesigning our sites. We ran surveys about the industry and about our readers’ unique interests to better keep you in the loop on all things river cruise. Our goal for this site has always been a simple one, to help you make an informed decision before you book your river cruise, be it your first or fifteenth.
During COVID, for the past two and a half years, we were operating on zero income. Still, we kept the site going because we had hope that the industry would return as strongly as ever. As COVID continued to rampage, my hope began to dwindle. I began to worry that things weren’t going to come back, and that people were not going to want to travel anymore but, as the situation with the virus continue improve, my worries subsided.
Yesterday we sat down to talk about our game plan for the future of the site. We have paired up with a group of river cruise companies that we respect, admire and, most importantly, enjoy. Our site thrives off of our relationships not only with our readers, but also with our industry partners. The pandemic forced these cruise companies to be innovative, compassionate and patient. The fact that these cruise companies are able and willing to team up with us again reflects a lot on the state of the river cruise industry, the companies are ready to market hard to get more guests back on board than ever.
We have also begun to travel again. In the past year I have sailed five times and Ralph has river cruised and hosted his barge cruises. We’ve written about these experiences over the course of the past year and it is so nice to read comments from people who are getting ready to travel and share similar experiences, or those who are finally ready to commit to a river cruise.
There has also been an influx in quote requests. When someone gets our recommendations for their river cruise, we give them information that fits their various needs and offer to pair them with a travel advisor who can assist them with booking. We have seen a large increase in quote requests coming to our inbox, demonstrating that travelers are not only researching upcoming vacations, but many are also ready to book.
Many have been nervous to travel during the past year, even as travel restrictions have eased. Some feel that it simply isn’t time yet, others worried about getting stuck overseas with COVID and some were worried not about COVID at all, but the war in Ukraine. In the past month we have seen entry requirements change. There is no more testing required for travelers entering the US. This is certain to persuade many who were on the fence about traveling before.
We are feeling hopeful about the future of river cruising and hope that you do too. In fact, now might be the perfect time to book a river cruise. Though many are starting to travel again, the crowds are still smaller than pre-pandemic times. It has made me so happy to be able to travel again and I just want everyone else to feel that same joy.
As Ralph said at the end of our phone call today, “We’re back in business. Feels good!”
It does feel as if something has shifted and we feel more motivated than ever to work hard for the future of the sites.
We’ve said it before on the sites but this time I mean it more than ever. River cruising is back. And so are we. Thanks for sticking with us for the ride.