Expedia CruiseShipCenters to expand online booking

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Expedia CruiseShipCenters will launch an online booking tool in December aimed at growing the brand's customer base and building consumer loyalty. The brand is using an e-mail effort to promote it.

The company will launch the tool in time for cruise-booking season, traditionally January and February. Beginning next month, Expedia will send e-mails to its customers calling them to book online.

“The idea is to generate more sales and build out our distribution channel,” said Dave Mossop, interactive media specialist at Expedia. “It is the way the industry is going. It is getting easier to book cruises online.”

Expedia CruiseShipCenters has worked with e-mail marketing services company Lyris for five years. In January, the company upgraded to Lyris' online marketing suite, Lyris HQ. Expedia sends up to six different e-mail newsletters about its cruises to more than 1.5 million subscribers a month.

This week, the brand sent an e-mail to 400,000 of its subscribers to promote a sale by Norwegian Cruise Lines. It uses e-mail for both acquisition and loyalty.

In addition to the online booking tool, the brand has opened nine agencies across the country. Next month, it will open a location in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Last month, Expedia Media Solutions, the advertising sales division of Expedia, broadened its display ad offering to include rich media units called StorePoint Expandables. Earlier this year, it launched behavioral targeting PassportAds, and expanded its e-mail program into Australia, New Zealand and India.

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