Cruisebound Announced $10 Million in Series A Funding Led By Former Booking Holdings inc. Chairman and CEO Jeff Boyd and PAR Capital Ventures
New York – Cruisebound, the simplest way to find, compare and book the best cruise deals, launched today. The brand targets young travelers and first-time cruisers who are searching for deals on their mobile device or desktop. The founding team built Rocket Travel and then worked through a successful integration after it was acquired by Booking Holdings in 2015.
Cruisebound compiles deals from all major cruise lines so users can easily compare prices, itineraries, ships, and cabin types. The service helps travelers find the best possible price by displaying personalized discounts based on demographics and other factors, including residence, age, military service, past cruise reservations, memberships, available promotions, and more. Average savings for eligible customers range from 15-30 percent.
“When booking my first cruise, I was surprised at how difficult it was to research and book online–and nearly impossible on a mobile device. My go-to travel sites for booking flights and hotels are not designed to sell a complicated cruise product. This is clearly a leading factor in the divide between cruisers and non-cruisers,” said Pierre-Olivier Lepage, Cruisebound CEO and cofounder. “We designed Cruisebound to sell cruises and only cruises. We offer an easy-to-use site that is optimized for mobile, which is where younger travelers prefer to research and book vacations. Then we combine the instant booking of an online travel agency with the live customer service of an offline agent.”
Cruisebound is designed to solve the pain points of researching and booking a cruise online. The startup’s features are unique in the industry, and characteristics of differentiation include:
- Designed with the first-time cruiser in mind. Cruisebound leads travelers through the complicated process of booking a cruise. The site displays the relevant content users need to make an informed decision, including sailing descriptions, itinerary maps, destination highlights, deck plans, amenities, dining, activities, entertainment, inclusions, and cruising FAQs. Filters narrow down options based on date, departure port, duration, cruise line, cabin type, and price.
- Mobile-first approach appeals to Millennials and Gen Z travelers who prefer to research and book travel on their mobile device. During a year of testing, 91 percent of Cruisebound purchases were made on a mobile device. The average age of the Cruisebound customer is 36 years old, significantly younger than the average age of today’s cruise customer.
- Finds eligible deals resulting in savings ranging from 15-30 percent. Travelers are eligible for promotional rates, including residency and senior discounts, without even being aware.
- Combines the customer service of an offline agency with the price comparison and instant booking of an online travel agency (OTA). Every reservation is backed by the Human Support Guarantee, ensuring world-class, live, post-booking customer service. A Cruisebound Cruise Consultant is available via phone, text, and email. Customers can hold a reservation for free (hold times vary by cruise line and sailing) and buy now or pay later via Uplift.
- First multi-cabin booking capability for an OTA. Cruisebound is A/B testing multi-cabin bookings. Users can efficiently plan a vacation with friends and family by adding multiple cabins to the shopping cart for a quick and seamless checkout experience.
- No booking fee. Unlike most travel sites, Cruisebound does not charge a booking fee.
Cruisebound Announced $10 Million Series A
Cruisebound closed a $10 million Series A in September 2022, bringing total funding to date to $12.7 million. The Series A round was led by former Booking Holdings Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeff Boyd and PAR Capital Ventures. Boyd joined the Cruisebound board. Additional investors represent the top thought leaders in the online travel and technology industries, including Steve Kaufer, cofounder of Tripadvisor; Steve Singh, founder of Concur; Dave Blundin, founder of Link Ventures and Cogo Labs; Flybridge Capital Partners; venture investors Ryan Moore and Jeff Fagnan; Alumni Ventures; the Joel Peterson family office; Plug & Play Ventures; and additional angel investors.
Cruisebound will invest the funds to improve the customer experience through product innovation and marketing to reach first-time cruisers.
“Technology companies have improved the travel planning and booking process for consumers in flights, hotels, vacation homes and tours and there is an opportunity for our experienced and innovative team to build scale with a single-minded focus on building the best consumer experience in cruises,” said Jeff Boyd, former Chairman and CEO of Booking Holdings Inc. “The founders of Cruisebound have a proven track record of solving customer pain points by leveraging data science and experimentation to build great products. I am confident that Cruisebound will drive new customers to an industry recovering from the pandemic and launching record levels of new ships.”