For the past two weeks I have been overseeing our weekly Cruise News UK edition.
The decision for Travel Daily Media to launch the weekly e-magazine (every Thursday!) came from our observation that it is a unique part of the industry, and my time looking after the e-magazine only cemented this.
In the actual holiday sense, selling a cruise is not much different to selling a dynamic package holiday. The cruise itself is essentially the hotel with flights, excursions, transfers and every else added if the client so wants to do so.
However the reluctance is coming from continued rows over commission and the difficulty of booking packages easily. Some are not available online and when an agent needs to switch those package customers over quickly, anything to help the industry along is a bonus.
Although there is perhaps a bigger challenge for the cruise industry; that of its public image. Good holiday stories rarely make the national press
anyway, those are for the travel pages and letters, but cruise horror stories perhaps strike more fear because there is the frightening element of being
Food and stock cannot be easily delivered; passengers can’t walk out the front door and hop on a flight.
How the cruise line handles such a situation can be close to make or break. Costa’s handling of the Concordia disaster in PR terms was shabby,
with a crisis agency appointed several days into the incident and little coming from head office.
Others are more responsive, some try but perhaps not enough.
Last week I wrote two stories about a particular cruise, one of which had come from comments from passengers made on our website. A one-line statement from the cruise line was probably all that was needed, but was probably not what they wanted to see.
Us journalists do not always really know what is happening in a situation and messages can be construed depending on who you talk to. But responding, and in the right way for your customers, is essential.