Archive for May, 2009

Float your boat

A friend of mine, David, told me about this great sushi place where they "float your sushi by you on a boat" located on a street we drive motorcycles on the way to South Beach.  Eventually, I wanted to take my wife out for something special.  We went.

First we mistakenly entered a different sushi place about one block away, it was nearly empty - normal tables, normal layout, no floating boats.  We left.

After walking a bit further down the street I spotted through a window a U shaped bar with little boats floating by.  Never would have known from signage - you see the sign on the front said "RK" with a basketball hoop and ball (so much for advertising).  I found out later the place is called Katana.  It was small and cramped.  We waited about 20 minutes for seating, which consisted of a chair and four inches between you, the wall and the "river bar."  We loved it. 


This place, without proper signage, no advertising and sparse expense paid to décor was packed.  It looked to be 50 years old and probably does the same successful business every night.  My wife and I can't wait to go back.

Why?  It was different.  It was crowded - it had a vibe.  Everyone wanted to be a part of it.  We didn't mind spending a little more.  Dave told me, I tell you, my wife tells some more.

Anita X Yelps "This place is like a sushi speakeasy because it's a place that you only go to if you're in the know. There's no sign, so most people find out about it by word of mouth. Inside the restaurant is small and dark, so be prepared to sit pretty close to the people beside you, but the great thing about this restaurant is the sense of community among everyone dining there."

Why am I blogging about this?  Has Cruise Market Watch become a restaurant review site?  No.  I want to point out the power of a simple marketing philosophy.  Something good and extra-ordinary gets the pod chirping with word of mouth and online social media.  And that will keep your boat floating.   

Cruise demand strong in online web site search

Our monthly Cruise Search Index reflects change in cruise demand as measured by the number of visitors to online cruise websites.

For the month of April 2009, U.S. online cruise search is estimated at 11.4 million monthly unique individuals. This represents a 5.4% decrease from the month prior (typical for the season) and a 13.7% increase over the same time last year (April 2008).  

The chart below illustrates the unique visitors to cruise sites by month over time.  Reflected in the chart is the decline in demand beginning in August 2008 (below previous year levels) and the steep increase in interest beginning in January 2009. 


It is very interesting to note that the total number of annual cruisers worldwide is estimated at 16 million.  With cruise websites getting monthly traffic of 11 million unique U.S. visitors there seems to be a considerable amount of interest/research being conducted.  A portion of this is apparently not resulting in bookings, suggesting some unmet potential for the cruise lines.

The following chart represents traffic for the top four visited Cruise Line websites.


The following chart represents traffic for the top four visited Cruise Line booking sites.


Source: Comscore