In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
30% of iCruise.com traffic comes from mobile devices.
Nearly 30% of iCruise.com’s web traffic comes from the travel agency’s iPhone and Android Cruise Finder mobile apps. And iCruise expects m-commerce to grow, says Uf Tukel, co-president.
“Mobile commerce is one the most important aspects of our multichannel retail strategy,” Tukel says. “More and more vacation planning is occurring away from the personal computer.”
The app features buttons for searching for cruises, getting more information about cruise lines and ships, and viewing deck plans. Users get access to information about 220 ships operated by 25 cruise lines, Tukel says. Along the bottom edge of the app’s home page are buttons for searches, deals, a favorites list, a link to the home page and one to call iCruise.
ICruise developed the main elements of the app, including the content, design and databases it connects to, in-house and used vendor LeewayHertz to build the app. ICruise spent $300,000 on in-house and vendor development.
ICruise launched its iPhone app in July 2010, followed by an Android app this August. Tukel says the Android app took more time because of a design issue. “Early designs of our Android app were built solely with Android buttons and controls in mind,” he says. However, the iCruise marketing team’s unfamiliarity with Android prompted them to scrap the initial design and redo the Android app so it mimicked the iPhone navigation scheme.
ICruise expects to unveil a mobile-optimized web site in the next few weeks and is developing an iPad app, Tukel says. Consumers using the m-commerce site or iPad app also can search trips and get detailed ship information.
Currently, neither the iPhone nor the Android app allows consumers to book cruises. Instead, they must book on the iCruise e-commerce site or call the company. Tukel says the next app versions and m-commerce site will offer full online availability, pricing and booking capabilities.