Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Cruises Becoming Increasingly Popular Among Younger Holidaymakers

Zenith

Zenith (Photo credit: lotsemann)

A new study aiming to discover the holiday preferences among young Britons has revealed an increase in the popularity of cruises among young adult holidaymakers.

The research was carried out and released by www.bonvoyage.co.uk; the site polled a total of 1,647 UK adults aged 18-30 on their recent holiday choices. Of those questioned, 17% stated that they had been on a cruise holiday within the past five years. 61% of these people went on the cruise with their parents and other family members, whilst 22% cruised with a partner, and 11% went as a group of friends. 5% stated that they went on the cruise alone as a part of a solo travelling gap year or work experience.

When asked if they would go on a cruise holiday again, 88% said that they would do so, with 9% stating they had already begun the booking and planning process of their next cruise. When asked to choose the main reasons as to why booking another cruise holiday appeals to them, the top answers emerged as follows:

1.       The varied activities offered on board (62%)

2.       The money-saving aspects of an all-inclusive cruise (food/drink/entertainment etc.) (54%)

3.       Less stressful to organize and book excursions (44%)

4.       The opportunity to visit multiple destinations in one holiday (37%)

5.       More appealing than alternative holiday options (23%)

bonvoyage.co.uk also noticed a 38% increase in the number of 18-30 year olds booking cruises over the past year.

Steph Curtin, Cruise Development Manager at bonvoyage.co.uk, made the following comments regarding the findings of the study:

“I cannot say that I am at all surprised that the popularity of cruises seems to be rising among the 18-30s, who are clearly bored with the traditional types of beach holidays that seem to be associated with their age groups. The fact is, that for the same price as a 2 week self-catering beach holiday, someone could get a really great all inclusive cruise.”

She continued, “There may be some sort of stereotype that cruises are only for middle-aged and elderly holiday makers, but cruise companies are continually introducing new activities and forms of entertainment on board. There are also more excursions targeted at younger people being offered to customers on board many ships.”

Anecdotally, Cruise Market Watch expects the importance of reason #2 to grow as price of air travel and hotel have increased recently relative to the price of a cruise.

Best time to purchase a European cruise

Cruise prices vary not only based on destination, number of nights booked, cabin type and ship segment but are also dependent on the season you set sail and how far in advance you buy. The same cruise itinerary can cost you a lot less per person per day if you book your ticket for the right season and the right number of months in advance. This infographic* can help you figure out the best time of year to go on a European cruise by highlighting prices by season and how far in advance you should book to get the best deal. The "rule of thumb for a European cruise" graphic requires little additional editorial comment. The only question that remains is what you will do with the money you save?

* Cruise Market Watch total weighted average price (per day per person) across all cabin categories from 30 cruise lines and 163 ships representing over 8,500 sailings in northern and southern Europe between September 1, 2010 to November 30, 2013.


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.



 

A picture is worth nine-thousand cruises

Use of the phrase "A picture is worth a thousand words" is thought to have originated from a 1921 article by Fred R. Barnard in the trade journal Printers' Ink, where he advocated the use of images in advertisements on streetcars.

Our friends at Mavens of London continue the tradition of making communications smart and effective.  They created this really cool info graph with Cruise Market Watch data (from financial breakdown of typical cruiser and 2012 passenger sourcing by region) to represent, quite literally, over nine thousand cruises from around the world.  Click on image to enlarge.




 

 

Are small ports the new Saint Graal for the cruise lines?

The Port of New Orleans has a cruise line term...

The Port of New Orleans has a cruise line terminal that accommodates cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, and ACCL. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cruise industry is often defined as a niche to the global tourism industry. The reason is that, in contrast with other branches of the tourism sector, the cruise industry is mostly driven by supply and not by demand. In fact, cruise lines make profit by providing more capacity (ships) and itineraries.

However, these are only two of the marketing strategies that cruise lines use to increase profits. Experts in this industry know that the cruise prices fall when too many ships are positioned in the same port/area. How to overcome this problem?

In recent years, an interest has arisen in small/local ports as a possible way to attract a new typology of cruisers. “Off beat” ports are synonym of “new”, “less crowded” and “interesting”, and everyone wants to feel special, even when choosing a mass type of vacation such as a cruise.

This is evidenced by comparing 2011 and 2012 PortPulse rankings.  Notice in the table below the percentage of unique sailings has increased by double digits in smaller ports (ranked 101 and higher) compared to the low single digits in the largest ports (ranked 1-100).

But why is it problematic for cruise lines to add small/local ports to their itineraries?

Features of ship ports and problems concerning small ports

Experts in the cruise industry claim that this business is not about destinations but about itineraries and routes. Hence, it’s understandable that, to be taken into consideration, small ports have to be in the right circle route. Given that cruise ships can cover 200 nautical miles per night, the small ports need to be within this distance parameter from other big and known ports.

Moreover, small ports are required to present a not very deep draft, which is a necessary condition for the cruise ships’ mooring, together with other specific technical features.

From the point of view of the port profile, small ports often don’t offer the same quantity of local amenities of bigger ports. When booking a cruise, cruisers not only look at the on-board activities, but also and mostly at the excursions available on the locations of the cruise itinerary.

However, the most challenging of the issues are the concerns that can arise as regards to the impact of cruise tourism on the existing economic and environmental resources. Even when economic projections confirm a potential economic growth of the sea area, strong protests can be held against the cruise companies. This is often the case in areas where most of the citizens work in the fishermen industries. Concerns range from water pollution, which may affect the fishing activity, to the changes to the historical and cultural assets of the area.

A new era for the cruise industry?

Even though little-known ports require a challenging plan of promotion, many cruise lines have focused on this aspect to increase their profits.

2011 saw some interesting statistics as regards to the cruise lines that have added less-explored ports to their itineraries, especially in North America.

Would this strategy also be applied to other areas of the world? For example, refer to the table below focused on the port of Benoa, Bali.  As illustrated by passengers sailed, it has moved up the PortPulse rankings from 623rd in the world in 2011 to 394th in the world in 2012.

And which cruise companies would mainly adopt this strategy? The answer is in the cruisers’ hands.

Norwegian Cruise Line ad account under review

Ad Age is reporting Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is putting its current creative advertising account up for review.  The account, valued at $50 million, has been handled by the Austin based Idea City for the last five years.

Headquarters of Norwegian Cruise Line
Image via Wikipedia

The Idea City ad campaigns have focused on driving home the message NCL is different in a “freestyling” way.  The TV spots showed, tongue in cheek, what it might feel like to dine on a competitor’s cruise ship – one featuring traditional fixed dining times and formal attire.

Speculation is NCL is making the change as part of its planned stock IPO (initial public offering).  Increased visibility could help the pricing of an initial offering of its stock. NCL has not shied away from publicity, being featured on CNBC's Cruise, Inc. "Big Money on the High Seas" and more recently in "Undercover Boss," a reality show where CEO, Kevin Sheehan worked alongside NCL onboard staff.

NCL, with it's 50% owner Star Cruises, together control a 7.7% share of the 2011 worldwide cruise market.

According to Ad Age, a pitch has already been delivered by Pile & Co. of Boston.  Idea City is expected to defend the account and NCL is shopping other agencies.  Regardless of what agency takes over, look for a new ad campaign to be hitting print and broadcast media in approximately six months.


Cruiseology 101

The Cruise Ship In Miami

The Cruise Ship In Miami (Photo credit: Stuart Herbert)

Seatrade's Cruise Shipping Miami conference is awesome!  Got some great feedback from the State of the Industry and Luxury Cruise conferences which certainly will find its way (cruise value) into this blog (cruise value).

I was introducing myself today as a "cruiseologist."  Why?  What is more memorable, "Hi I'm Dave" or "Hi, I'm Dave, Cruiseologist"?  Silly? Not really.  The marketing point is, when you have less than 1 minute to meet someone and make an impression, make it memorable.

Relax – Cruise lines can go after the spa business

In December, I posted Cruise Market Watch’s three New Year's resolutions.  One of which was to look at one specific market niche each month where cruise lines can increase penetration, grow market share and revenue.  This post is the first installment of that series.

Why look for opportunities to grow revenue from within the larger travel industry?

The cruise industry has only a 2% market share of the total vacation industry.  While ships are still going out full, the portion of repeat cruisers is up (i.e. former customers are taking advantage of the price discounts from what they paid last time).  But you can only increase past cruiser frequency so much.  That is not a sustainable model – there is a limit to the number of cruises one can take.

Nor is the best approach cannibalizing business from other cruise lines.  Or even worse, customers trading down within your own company brands from luxury to premium, or premium to contemporary.  And where will our industry be when fuel prices start to increase, severely limiting the ability to discount?

With more cruise ship capacity coming online, it is not why, but must.  Must prompt non-cruisers to try something different, of a greater perceived value than other related activities they are engaged in today.  Cruise lines have to change the game.

Ok, lets get to the meat.  Where and how?  The niche segment takeaway for the month is spa.  As the chart below illustrates, the more cruise lines can improve the perceived spa experience, the more they can enhance the price/value relationship relative to the competition, the more they will acquire share.

How much is out there?  The 18,100 spas in United States generate more annual revenue than ski resorts and nearly as much as movie box office receipts.  Of these, 77 percent are day spas, 8 percent are resort/hotel spas, 7 percent are club spas, 5 percent are destination spas, 3 percent are medical spas, 3 percent are mineral springs spas and just .3 percent are cruise ship spas.

  • The number of spa locations in the U.S. has grown at an annual average of 20% in the last eight years.

Spa Visits

  • There are more than 32 million active spa-goers
  • In 2007, there were 138 million spa visits
  • In 2006, there were 110 million spa visits

Revenue

  • In 2007, $10.9 billion of revenue was generated by the U.S. spa industry
  • In 2006, $9.4 billion of revenue was generated by the U.S. spa industry

Got your attention?  My blog posts over the next several weeks will be about how to get the “spa pod” chirping. To wet your appetite: about 60% of adult men’s bodies are water; babies are born at about 78%. Its not a cruise’s spa, its a spa on a cruise and like our bodies it is in water 24/7 – seems like the most holistic, natural and organic approach to healing.

Source: International Spa Association

 

Premium Cruise Line Celebrity Generating Buzz with Solstice

Solstices occur twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is oriented directly towards or away from the Sun.

An inaugural launch like Celebrity’s Solstice, however, occurs just once. Celebrity is reaching new cruise line marketing heights in getting its pod chirping.

The blogosphere abounds with buzz.

That fits in with green strategy.  So does naming Professor Sharon L. Smith, an ocean scientist, as the ship Godmother.

It all adds up to good marketing by Celebrity - it’s one Solstice I wont soon forget.