It's starting to feel like barely a week goes by without a river cruise line announcing a new television ad or social media campaign.

The latest consumer marketing coup came this week, when U by Uniworld reported that it will be making a cameo on the next episode of "The Bachelor."

This wave of high-profile, consumer-driven exposure marks a potentially exciting shift for the river cruise industry, and for the agents who sell it. In the past, one of the big complaints from travel agents who sell river cruises has been that with Viking River Cruises being the only major player in the consumer marketing game, courtesy of its well-known PBS ads, the burden has been entirely on them to educate their clients about all the other options beyond Viking.

But now, the river cruise lines are helping to expand that knowledge base. Obviously, direct-to-consumer marketing such as TV ads and highly trafficked social media feeds also means that river cruise lines are reaching out directly to prospective customers, and thus potentially bypassing agents. But all told, the increased exposure should generally translate into more business for all involved.

All this advertising and marketing also would seem to indicate some healthy profits.  Consumers ads, and TV and social media marketing deals, aren't cheap. River cruise lines didn't buy this kind of exposure before because they didn't have the budgets for it. So, beyond the increased awareness this onslaught of advertising is bringing, it also suggests that river cruising continues to be a growth sector that is poised for even more expansion.

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