With Norwegian recently announcing all-inclusive pricing, will other cruise companies be tempted to follow suit?
Andy Harmer – SVP membership & director, UK & Ireland, CLIA
We often talk about there being ‘a cruise for every person, budget and occasion’ – and with around 60 cruise line members of CLIA operating over 400 ships, that choice is remarkable. This extends to booking the right package – with some cruise lines offering all-inclusive drinks packages, on-board credit, or any number of different value added options. Norwegian, as with all operators, aims to attract holidaymakers from a land-based trip to the sea (or river!); this change in policy is one example of how cruise lines are being creative in how they appeal to non-cruisers.
With the cruise industry growing at a healthy pace, and with strong customer loyalty to cruise in general we are seeing sustained guest migration from the mainstream cruise sector into the Premium, Upper Premium and even the All-Inclusive brands as couples go through their life journey. Oceania Cruises offers the ideal choice to anyone looking to move to a more personal, intimate experience with smaller ships, fewer guests and open dining, as well as speciality restaurants at no charge. With OLife Choice guests get to make the experience even more personal by choosing one of three complimentary amenities – Shore Excursions, Beverage Package or Shipboard Credit. This is in addition to complimentary soft drinks, speciality teas and coffees and free Internet.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises have been the market leaders in ultra-luxury, all-inclusive cruising for many years. We are one of the only lines that include complimentary shore excursions, making our proposition one of the most comprehensive available, with flights, transfers, fine dining, premium drinks, gratuities, WiFi and more. It’s not surprising that cruise lines are beginning to see the value in this winning formula, it’s a strong message that agents can use to entice customers and also keeps pricing simple.
We are keen to offer choice. Guests are welcome to add items such as drinks packages to their cruise and we have made it easy for agents to do this via onesourcecruises.com. If guests prefer to pay as they go when onboard, we’re more than happy to accommodate them. Customer feedback tells us that guests welcome this approach as they pay for the items that are important to them.
How to sell all-inclusive by Norwegian’s Nick Wilkinson
- All-inclusive presents a major opportunity for agents and the wider cruise industry to change existing perceptions of cruise travel and expand its customer base, introducing new-to-cruise customers to a simplified way of cruising.
- Premium All-Inclusive has eliminated many of the issues which held holidaymakers back from booking their first cruise, such as paying gratuity on-board and racking up a bar bill. To highlight this shift, it is important that all-inclusive cruises are positioned alongside other land-based all-inclusive resorts – travellers will then start to see cruise as a viable alternative.
- Understanding your customers’ holiday buying habits and decision triggers – what is it that makes them choose one holiday over another? –will provide opportunities to align the cruise offering with their wants and needs. Selecting the right cruise for a customer is vital to keep them booking time and again. This intel will enable a greater chance of selling success.
- All-Inclusive is a new product, so some education may be involved. For example, an added benefit is that guests are able to budget for their holiday. Knowing what they will pay upfront means you will have opportunities to sell elements like airport transfers, shore excursions or pre- or post-cruise stays.