Digital marketing in the cruise industry is vitally important.
Like everyone else, cruiselines and travel agents are striving to have a digital marketing strategy in place.
However, the cruise industry in particular is full or paradoxes and pitfalls, and it’s nearly impossible to get it right without any complications.
Here are the top challenges the cruise industry is facing, as well as some ideas how to combat them:
- Targeted Customers: The ability to target key demographics is what makes digital marketing so cost-effective. When it comes to cruising, there are a variety of targets and relative demos to take into account: elderly, under 30s, families, solo travelers, etc. Drafting a digital strategy that includes all those types is a real challenge. Using the most appropriate channel for each group is a great way to tackle this challenge. For example, use Instagram to target travelers under 30s.
- Digital Marketing for Baby Boomers: A large of portion of cruiseline customers are part of the 65+ demographic and their needs should be addressed accordingly. Don’t fall into the trap thinking, “Grandmothers don’t use the internet!” Baby boomers travel a lot and are becoming more tech savvy, too. Therefore, it’s fundamental to understand which activities are more appealing to them. To accommodate this demo, websites must be user friendly and easy to navigate. It’s also beneficial to understand the best activities for this target by testing and measuring the results.
- Phone calls: In an ideal world, digital marketers would love to receive inquiries mainly by email because they’re more trackable, and so marketers can easily discern the impact of a certain campaign because the volume of responses are easy to quantify. However, in the cruise industry, phone calls are still the primary means of communication. This is due to the complexity of the industry — it’s very hard to book without assistance since there are different packages, different cruise lines, different cabins, and so on. Cruise lines can overcome the tracking hurdle by requiring to keep meticulous track of the phone calls and remember to ask the decisive question: “How did you hear about us?”
- Pricing vs Luxury: This challenge is partially shared by offline marketing activities as well, but since reach on the internet is so broad and exposed, the issue is even more delicate. In fact, on one hand, travel operators strive to provide the best price possible, but on the other hand, they don’t want to ruin the allure of luxuriousness around the cruise experience by undervaluing it. Pricing strategy works particularly well online where competitors are just one click away from you. Disguising your pricing strategy might be one way to combat per-conceieved price perceptions. Try to communicate first the value of booking with you by appealing to emotion, then secondly, stress the competitive price tag by using urgent phrasing like, “Limited Offers,” “Last Minute Offers,” “Last Places on Discount,” etc.
- Fight Against the Assumption that Millennials Aren’t Into Cruising: The assumption that only older demographics enjoy cruises is common, but it should be combated to attract new cruisers in the younger demo. Communication is the answer. Placing images of young people, stressing the dynamic activities, and on-board entertainment exclusive to younger generation is a great way to catch their attention.
The revamp of the cruise industry is dependent on the success of digital marketing activities and those that are successful will benefit from a substantial competitive edge.
When Great Challenges Turn into Greater Opportunities
The aforementioned challenges in reality can represent big opportunities for whom is able to play the card well and approach the market in the right way.
There is a common rule that applies: Every company should be able to transfer knowledge to customers and impose themselves as a market leader.
Customers want to communicate with cruise experts when booking their holidays, they want to know their money has been invested wisely, and that they’ll enjoy their experience.
Author Bio: Francesca Bandini is a professional digital marketer that enjoys blogging and strategy. She likes traveling, learning, and adores the fine things of life.