Product & Design
minute read

Introducing Cruising, Multiple Itineraries, and a Refreshed Navigation

Introducing Tern's biggest release yet: a game-changing new way to sell cruises. A database of over 40,000 cruise itineraries, a brand new way to present multiple itinerary options to clients, and so much more. You won't want to miss this update.
Written by
David Shull
Published on
November 30, 2023

I recently got back from a trip to Roatán, Honduras. On one of my taxi rides around the island I got chatting with a local. We were in the midst of building Tern's cruising feature and I asked what the locals thought of the giant cruise ships that visited the island. "They're our economy" the driver replied, "The entire island goes into hustle mode when the ships come in. Some days we have 5-6 ships and everyone is hustling for the tips the tourists bring." It was a welcome change of pace from the headlines and a welcome reminder on the economic impact cruising (and tipping) can have on a destination.

Today, I'm thrilled to announce a product for cruise-selling advisors unlike anything else on the market.

Discover the right cruise for your clients

My co-founder Katie and I attended the ASTA river cruise expo this year in Budapest. On a cold March evening we waited outside as we slowly realized we had missed the last shuttle to the evening event. We weren’t the only ones, and after some deliberation, a small group of us climbed into a cab and headed to the railroad museum. 

In the van I asked the advisors what I thought was a simple question: how do you find the cruises to present your clients? They went on to tell me about the various websites they use to search for cruises and how, only once they had found the cruise on another website, would they look up the schedule in an itinerary builder. 

With Tern, we wanted to bake discovery directly into the product. Starting Thursday, September 28th, every Tern advisor can access the “Cruises” Library feature. Looking for what cruises are running in late November that include a stop in Budapest? That’s just a click away in Tern. 

Searching for River Cruises running in November that include a stop in Budapest is easy in Tern.

Tern includes data on over 40,000 itineraries from over 60 ocean and river cruise lines (full list here). With Tern, advisors will no longer have to switch between websites to find the best cruise for their clients. 

Drag and drop cruising

Adding a cruise in Tern is as easy as dragging and dropping. Just drag a cruise library component to any day on the trip and Tern will automatically bring up a list of cruises happening in the trip date range. Quickly filter by supplier, keyword, or ports to find the exact right cruise. Adding it to the board is as easy as clicking “Add to Trip”. 

Adding a cruise is as easy as drag, drop, done.

Once added to the trip Tern automatically creates cards for the port arrivals and departures. Best of all, Tern automatically creates an “About the cruise line” and “About the ship” sections of the itinerary. When provided, clients can watch embedded Youtube videos about the cruise line, explore images of the ship, and scroll through dining, entertainment, kids and teens, and other informational sections! All automatically created with a simple drag and drop. 

Detailed information about the ship and cruise line is automatically included in Tern itineraries.

Present cabin options effortlessly

A key differentiator of Tern itineraries is their interactivity. Using option blocks advisors can present travelers with options that they can explore beautifully within the itinerary. Travelers can even indicate a preference directly through the itinerary cutting down on unnecessary emails. 

As we were building cruising we heard from advisors that a key part of the advisory experience is highlighting the different cabin options travelers can choose from. We wanted to make that an easy and beautiful experience. To do so, we used our existing option block and lodging components and added another level of intelligence. 

Advisors dragging a lodging item onto a day with a cruise will automatically have the lodging option set to “At Sea”. It will be associated with the cruise ship and dates automatically. Toggling over to “Room Assignments” allows the advisor to browse the specific cabins on that ship. Selecting a cabin will automatically populate the room details and bring in beautiful images of the room. 

Tern automatically creates a beautiful and interactive itinerary showcasing each room to your clients. 

Helping your clients find the right stateroom option for them has never been easier with Tern. 

Presenting multiple itineraries, but make it easy

Another seemingly simple question we asked during our cruise research: how do you present clients with multiple cruises to consider? The answers varied from “I don’t” or “I just forward them what I get from the cruise line” to “I spent 40 hours putting together a document in Canva”. Needless to say, it felt like there was room for improvement here. 

As we thought about it this felt like the same problem we heard from advisors who wanted to sketch out a few totally different FITs for their clients under the same trip umbrella. 

Today, we’re excited to announce multiple itineraries in Tern. Whether you’re sharing multiple cruises or created three entirely different FITs, multiple itineraries makes it a breeze. Every trip in Tern now features a tab bar. Adding a new itinerary is as easy as clicking + Add Option. 

Each itinerary now has its own name, dates, cover photo, and description. You can set all of these or just click “Create Itinerary” and come back to it later. Just like that, you have access to an entirely new planning board. You can drag in a new cruise from the cruise library or build an entirely new trip from scratch using the trip components. The world is your oyster! 

When you add multiple options to an itinerary, Tern automatically creates a beautiful landing page for the trip showing your clients all the options you’ve put together. Clients can click into each itinerary to explore them just as they would a normal itinerary in Tern. 

Once your clients have decided which trip is best for them you can archive the other boards and focus your efforts on the path forward. 

Coming soon: magic shore excursions

One of the themes we heard in our research was how time consuming it can be for advisors to sell shore excursions. At Virtuoso travel week we had the opportunity to connect with Rob Keen, co-founder of Project Expedition. We got to brainstorming over a few cocktails and the idea for magic option blocks was born.  

Soon, advisors will be able to automatically add Project Expedition shore excursions, backed by their “back to ship guarantee” automatically to a cruise itinerary. It’s so easy, it feels like magic. Stay tuned for more details on this exciting partnership. 

Consistency is key (in navigation)

Finally, and only slightly less exciting than some of the other updates, we’re announcing an update to our in-app navigation. Tern now features an ever-present top navigation, ensuring you always know where you are. 

When collapsed, the navigation has been enhanced with hover-states to make it clearer what each icon means without having to expand the menu. Oh, and we’ve moved the logout button from the sidebar to prevent those annoying accidental logouts. 

Did someone ask for a splash of color? To give the trip page a distinct feel, we’ve added a vibrant new trip header, providing a visual cue to indicate which trip you’re focused on.

What’s next? 

It’s hard to believe but we’re already hard at work at the next big thing. Founding Flock and Early Birds: keep an eye out for the earliest version of Tern forms coming soon 🙂In the meantime, please let us know what you think of the new updates! 

As always, you can give us feedback using the in-app chat or through the “Submit Feedback” button in the application. We can’t wait to hear what you think. 

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