Archive for September, 2012

Paint with numbers

People might be tempted to stereotype statisticians and other data crunchers as being heavily math leaning, if not somewhat lacking of the artistic gene.  Not always so.  The telling of an easy-to-comprehend story from a complex data set is really a skillful art.  It is the same thing with finding creative ways to use the sometimes massive quantities of information in a database.  Out of the box thinking can provide new value to users in ways they never imagined.

Take the folks over at CruiseWise.com.  They dared to color outside the lines and developed a neat little port crowd calculator widget.

That could be a point of differentiation in the commoditized world of online cruise booking.  As one of history’s greatest artists/designers Coco Channel said “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”

Cruise Ship Segmentation

Segmentation is happening all around us every day; SUV or economy? Soda or energy drink? VP or Junior Analyst?  Cruise ships are no different – they each have distinct characteristics which we mentally place into groups (large and small, luxury and well, yes cheap).  But what happens if we let the numbers speak for themselves?   Cruise Market Watch developed a statistical model based on similarities within three dimensions:

  • ~ average duration of cruise
  • ~ average price per person per day (weighted across all cabin categories)
  • ~ ship passenger capacity


From 221 different cruise ships accounting for over 9,000 sailings in the next 12 months, our model produced 10 distinctive cruise ship segments.

Each segment describes, based on the data provided, the “class” to which its members belong (naming the segments is, however, more art than science). Segment members are mathematically most similar to each other along the three dimensions, and most dissimilar to members of the other groups.

Interact with the graph below by clicking segment selector and discover each segment’s averages and ship members.  And yes, Oasis and Allure really are in a class all by themselves.  The math is un-biased, so don’t hate.