What is Smart Linking?
The difference with Smart Linking is that, unlike previous versions of the Cruise Search, the widget creates a new URL for every search you make. This means that once you have the Cruise Search embedded on your website you can send links to direct people to exactly what you want them to see.
In older, or basic versions of the Cruise Search, it sits within your webpage but doesn’t have any effect on it; it essentially creates a window so you can see from your site into our content. This means that when you perform a search you’d have to do the same search from scratch to find the same result. Smart Linking changes that, and provides a new URL for every search, cruise or ship.
How Do I Use It?
It’s easy! Once you have your Cruise Search with Smart linking (we’ll have built this for you), you can start using it straight away.
Put in any criteria you like, and click ‘Show Results’. You’ll see that the URL in the top bar will have changed. If you click into a particular cruise, it’ll change again. In fact it’ll change for any action that you take, even if you’re using the Ship Search.
When you’ve found something you want to share, click on the URL in the top bar. You’ll want to highlight it all, right click and select ‘copy’ (or ctrl + c or cmd + c on mac devices). You can then paste this link anywhere that you like, such as in a Facebook post, in an email to a customer or anything else.
However, before you share it anywhere we recommend one last thing...
Step 3) (Optional)
If you’ve clicked around a lot, you’ll notice that the URL from the Cruise Search can get quite long, which can be a bit unmanageable and certainly isn’t pretty. To counteract this you can use a link shortener such as Bit.ly - there are lots of these websites available but we’ll be using Bit.ly for our examples.
This is super simple too, just go to www.bit.ly and paste your copied URL into the box on the homepage. This will automatically shorten the link and re-copy it for you. You can then share your new link anywhere and it will bring up the exact search you did before.
The other advantage of Bit.ly is that you can go back to the website and see how many people have clicked on your link.
For use with customers in store, over the phone or online - you can perform the search right there and then, and email them the link so they can have a look for themselves. They don’t have to trawl through lots of results, you can send them their perfect trip straightaway.
On your website, you can even use Smart Linking to only show certain cruises on each page. A great example of this is www.choosingcruising.co.uk, where they’ve used the same Cruise Search but with different filters already applied. So if you click on Norwegian Cruise Line, or Cruises from the UK, the Cruise Search has been pre-filtered to only show you the right results.
On social media or in your email marketing, you can do the search to show only what you’re promoting that week. Got a special offer on Celebrity Edge in June 2020 that you want customers to see?
Simply search for the cruises and the ship, put the links in your marketing and put the offers, availability and the full details of the ship right in front of the people you want to see it.
The ship might sound great, but no one really knows until they can see everything that it offers in one place.
On Facebook, you can also share Smart Links in private, closed groups. Some of our cruise line partners, such as CroisiEurope and Riviera Travel (see right, below), use their own Smart Linking Cruise Search to promote specific cruises and ships to their agents to increase awareness and sales. This works especially well if you have a special offer on that your travel agent partners might not know about.
Let your customers make more informed decisions, use your time more efficiently and improve your marketing strategies.
If you’re interested in a Cruise Search with Smart Linking, you can get in touch for more information and to get started. You can read more about the Widgety Cruise Search in our other blog posts - Introducing the Widgety Cruise Search, Updates to the Cruise Search and Introducing Smart Linking.