Cruise lines in Australia rely on a set of demographic and psychographic profiles of their target consumers to make marketing campaigns. They also depend on their market and product segmentation strategies for market growth. The paper highlights unique characteristics of the cruise ship market in Australia, with the main analysis concern being the review of the use of psychographic characteristics of a case couple profile. The paper then makes recommendations for cruise ship lines to use in being relevant to the Western Australian market, according to the feature identified by the case couple, as the target clients. Overall its highlight the market structure and strategies and discusses their relevance to particular situations by taking a broad outlook of the industry and narrowing it down to the case couple profile characteristics.
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A cruise relates to travel on a ship. Travellers visit different places on holiday alternatives. Growth in the Industry in the past few years is due to the changing trends of consumers. Older consumers still opt to cruise for their travels. However, there is an increase in the number of younger travellers taking up sailing as their first choice of exploring the world (CRIA, 2013). Nevertheless, cruise ship companies seem to maintain their focus their target customers, which includes affluent people in society.
When planning a cruise, couples take roles together. However, women take more initiative than men do in handling the details of the cruise do. Women derive more pleasure from the planning experience, while men tend to focus on the product. Since women take the most active roles, their habits affect the overall couple’s decision-making process for taking up a cruise trip. Marketers are aware of the different roles that men and women will play in making decisions. Therefore, they include variations in their messages to appeal to the female decision-maker differently than they would on the male decision-maker. At the same, other messages will target families and couples as a unit.
This essay seeks to establish the market structure and differentiation strategies used by cruise ships in Western Australia and then evaluate the possible plan that would allow a cruise ship to entice a young couple to take up a trip. Therefore, the paper provides a case psychographic profile of the young couple to inform its strategic recommendations.
The Australian Cruise Industry
The Australian cruise ship industry is growing. In the 2013-2014 period, it increased by 13.4 per cent in the number of cruise ship visits. Growth spread to all states. Total passenger capacity was 63,263 in 2014 and crew size for the same year was 28,061. There were 773 port visits, and the industry had 1,956,194 passenger days in port. Crew days in port were 434,058. Passengers spent about 676 million dollars while the crew spend about 71 million dollars. Overall, there were about 941 million dollars attributed to port-related expenditure. Corporates spent more than 167 million dollars, and the total impact of the cruise industry to the Australian economy in expenditure was 1.854 billion dollars.
Leading cruise lines in the world factor in Australia in their annual programs. The three biggest global cruise lines are Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Leading players in the Australian market are Royal Caribbean Cruises, P&O Cruises, Carnival, and Princess Cruises. Australian cruise ship operators provide safety and security measures and operate under particular codes of conducts to ensure they serve different customers adequately.
Cruise ships visiting Western Australian ports can be expedition-style ships such as the Coral Sea Princess cruise. They can also be mid-range ships operated by companies such as P&O Cruises Australia. There are mega-ships, and then there are upscale lines.
Expedition style ships allow passengers to explore sea features of geography such as islands and coral reefs that are only available in the ocean (Ruhanen, Mclennan, & Moyle, 2013).
Mid-range ships and mega-ships seek passengers that are willing to explore and travel to far-flung parts of the world. They target travellers who have enough time to travel. These are mainly people in their retirement or entrepreneurs and artists that can afford to take time off from their formal work and spend time in the oceans, away from any landmass and civilisation.
Cruise ships separate their markets by purchasing power and demographic characteristics such as age and lifestyle choices. Typical services covered by most cruise lines include all meals, accommodation, entertainment, recreational facilities such as swimming pool. Steam rooms, spas, and reading facilities. Cruises offer services similar to hotels, which an essential differentiation being their establishment on a ship (Rasmi, Nig, Lee, & Soutar, 2014).
Companies create packages to cater to the needs of different travellers. The package reflects different lifestyle choices and circumstances that affect Australians. Here, there are full-time customers willing to take trips at any time of the year. These are mainly people who are not limited to their work or other social obligations. At the same time, there are seasonal travellers who have to wait for specific months in the year to travel.
Seasonal tourism relies on favourable weather and annual offers (Branchik, 2014). This segment includes bargain hunters who visit when the season demand is low, and prices are affordable. At the same time, there are the season travels opting to cruise because of holidays. They prefer to spend their vacation days in memorable ways, and they hope to take up a cruise ship because of their experience, or because it is a new experience for them (Chon, 2013).
The corporate market segment has companies and institution that book trips for several people as a reward for job performance or as a teamwork activity. Corporates may also schedule trips so that they can hold special events as part of their operations. They are not very popular but tend to order comprehensive services are, therefore, a good source of business for cruise lines (Bent, 2014). Corporate customers may also intend to offer third party services to their clients by relying on cruise ships. Such services include wedding ceremonies and anniversary celebrations (Bianchi, Pike, & Lings, 2014).
Cruise businesses seek to entice first-time travellers with simple and short duration tours to get them experienced to the ocean. For experienced tourists, the companies focus on upgrading their experience by selling them upscaled offers in bigger and luxurious cruise ships. However, particular cruises also do market and seek to retain their customers annually. They target consumers willing to travel, who have a travel history in any form.
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Targeting is for the fun-loving passenger, the explorers of the world and the curious people who want to experience the stories they hear about cruise ships.
For different travel consumers, cruises ship use diverse media to deliver their message. For the young traveller without many families or work obligations, the cruise industry offers a various spot on packages. Cruisers do not have to spend an entire year planning their trips. They can book in a week and take off. For example, P&O Cruises offers a Pack N Go package for Australians. The package allows cruisers to take up last-minute cruise deals. The promotion allows the cruise line to take care of any extra capacity that would otherwise remain unoccupied by the general target market. At the same time, the inclusion of last-minute packages allows the cruise to reach out first-time cruisers who need a sense of urgency for them to act on the opportunity to travel over water for many days (Glusac, 2015).
Cruise lines are also embracing social media tools to reach out to younger traveller. The approach taken in social media marketing differs among cruise lines. However, a common feature in their targeting strategies is to create awareness and then use social media as a customer intelligence-gathering tool. That way, the cruise lines can come up with campaigns that are relevant to a broad majority of their target consumers. They know the artists and entertainment activities to include in their upcoming packages for different segments of the market. They also use social media to inform the public about their offers in an interactive way (Ironside, 2014).
The companies are also introducing communication features for travellers after recognizing the high demand for on-board communication tools like smartphones that will allow travellers to remain connected to the world and their friends. This comes as overall social trends point to an increased connectedness of people and a rising problem of fear-of-missing-out. Therefore, the strategy here is to entice travellers with the promise that they will be having a great time and remain connected to their life and social networks. The move ensures that cruise ships are attractive to social media tools enthusiasts whose can pass on an opportunity if it does not include the ability to connect with friends through Instagram, Facebook, twitters, and many other social network tools (The Digital Ship, 2015).
New media technologies are allowing cruise ships to play a part in the planning process of most travellers. The apps are handy for comparing prices, finding out more information about attractions, knowing the crew of the cruise ship. They prepare customers psychologically for their trips and provide a personalized assistance for many cruise-shopping tasks. In addition, smartphone and tablet application increase the reach of the cruise ship support staffs to many customers without facing distance and time limitations. Cruisers can learn about other people who are travelling with them and take virtual trips before the actual journey (Seatrade Insider, 2015).
When targeting traditional markets of older people, the cruise ships rely on print campaigns in magazines and billboards. They also communicate messages of credibility and reliability highlighting their various industry awards and positive customer reviews.
Most clients will choose a cruise ship based on their identification with a cruise line. Thus, it is difficult for cruise ships associated with luxury to attract budget conscious consumers. Thus, cruise lines are only able to change the target customer’s profiles to the extent permitted by particular market segments. A cruise line focus on an expedition and short trips does not target affluent consumers and will pursue the same strategy when hunting for low season business and high season business.
More Australians are going cruising, and the trends are surpassing that of established cruise markets like the United States. The industry expects passenger to reach one million by year 2016 (Hill, 2015).
Products offered by cruise ships are similar. Substitution is easy for customers before they book a particular trip. Differentiation occurs at the experience level. Luxury cruise lines offer comprehensive packages and better facilities than short stay budget price cruises. Cruise ships provide entertainment and edutainment facilities that make them attractive to families. They appeal to their target market of older adults, but rely on the added features to attract family cruisers (Satchell, 2014).
In addition to providing extra services, cruise lines are also appealing to environmentally conscious consumers. They are adding sustainability practices to make their services compliant with global and local environmental and business sustainability laws. They are using the compliance to building their reputation as ethical businesses and to encourage their consumers to be part of progressive change. The cruise lines work with customers to enable political consumerism actions where cruisers pick a particular cruise line based on its delivery of services using environmentally sustainable resources and minimizing waste and pollution.
Another area of differentiation is on port infrastructure to cater for passenger growth. Cruise ships differentiate themselves from their competitors by investing in their brands and establishing close business relationships with different ports in Australia and around the world. They can get some preferential treatment and avoid delays and other inconveniences for their customers. In return, customers pay a premium price for the quick and customized boarding process.
Cruise ships are also positing themselves to take up new marketing destinations, especially smaller ports that were previously not part of the cruise network in Australia. This includes the small ports like Albany, Geraldton, Broonie, Cooktown and Townsville that are also attracting a high number of first-time cruisers (P&O Cruises, 2011). The market is expanding, and the leading companies in the industry realize that they can enjoy first mover advantages before their rivals copy their strategies.
Strategic collaboration with various product makers is also a strategy used by cruise lines to make their services stand out from the competition. Luxury cruise lines partner with dressmakers, winemakers, spa service providers, and other companies that offer exclusive products and services to leisure customers. At the same time, entertainment facilities onboard are also due to collaborative partnerships with service provider businesses that are able to arrange for exclusive deals that allow particular cruise ships to remain unique in their service offering and therefore enjoy distinctive competitive capabilities.
Investments in security systems and use of engagement policies with guests allow companies to serve different guest segments in the same ship without facing any conflicts or misuse of resources by non-qualified customers (P&O Cruises, 2011).
Phil and Becky’s Psychographic Profile
Many people going to cruise ship tours are married or single but open to meeting people and possibly form relationships. Phil and Becky are keen on their personal appearance and value time with friends. They are eager to grow their career and, therefore, want to take part in activities that will improve their skills and position for their jobs. They are also a young family that is looking to settle down soon. Currently, they have limited time to dedicate to travelling and their work. They can rely on the vacation time to travel. This implies that they have to make prior arrangement to know the way they will spend their vacation time.
They may also have to make early financial arrangements with their companies and banks so that they have enough money to pay. Phil and Becky would buy a luxury cruise ticket because they want a memorable event as part of their married experience. They are also looking to the trip as the final one before they settle in the family. Therefore, their situation allows them to be concerned with their health and wellness and to seek fulfilment in their career and their young family. They might value time in small groups are they are used to working in a small company and close to each other.
Cruise line marketing strategy for Phil and Becky
Spending money on traditional media advertising to target non-cruisers to consider cruising as a vacation activity is an option for marketing cruise ship services. The company can come up with a simulation of the cruising experience with a couple’s profile that fits the psychographic profile of the people it is targeting.
The business has to sell to younger travellers and, therefore, needs to focus on affordability and shorter trips. Young people are keen to explore the cruise ship experience, but they need low entry requirements such as affordable ticket prices. They also have a high demand for associated entertainment attractions that are relevant to their generation. Therefore, cruise ship operators have to include attractions such as music concerts that cover celebrity artists who can help improve the visibility and demand of the businesses.
In addition to shopping malls and other cruise ship experiences that worked for older generations, the young generation looks for thrilling activities such as skateboarding, bike riding, kayaking, bowling, skiing, and video gaming (Ironside, 2014). They are not particularly attracted to the traditional attractions like casinos and restaurants that offer a similar experience to inland businesses (Mann, 2014).
Women are risk averse than men, and they rely on different influence factors. For example, Becky will be more concerned with what other people are doing and saying about a particular cruise. Her decision to take up sailing for vacation is due to her focus on others, which allows her to form a connection between her desires and those of other people in her social circle. Men like Phil will rely on their expectations of the experience and need assurance that it will be rewarding.
Thus, when targeting Phil and Becky, the campaign approach should refer to successful cruise travels and appeal more to the need for being part of an increasing social circle of cruise ship travellers. Such messages will appeal to Becky. At the same time, as the chief planner of the activities, they will allow her to come up with adequate information to influence her husband’s reasoning about cruising. The marketing campaigns should also have messages about accomplishing challenges such as taking the first cruise ship or attending a concert at hundreds of miles away from the nearest land mass. These proclamations will be appealing to male-centred thinkers like Phil keen on making tangible gains about their experiences in ways that justify their spending.
Cruise lines have to operate different independent ships that ensure that services offered are appealing to the target psychographic. In addition to looking at affordability, they must determine whether they are going to focus on the destination, and wrap every activity towards delivering a real destination experience. Alternatively, they can pick on the process and concentrate on the journey to the destination to give guests a transition effect throughout the cruise. For a guest looking for fun, the a fun ship is the best target for them as it will focus on creating various social environments that promote mingling and entertainment so that people have a great time together. With the differentiated psychographic targets, it is easy for Phil and Becky to pick a particular theme such as the transition process and go with a particular ship that will allow them to experience different stages of their journey as transitions (Wagner, 2014).
The market for cruise travel in Australia will continue to grow due to an increase in demand. Most Western Australians are learning about cruising as an alternative form of enjoying their free time and travel time. They are also facing a number of options for taking trips offered by many cruise lines. The industry pursues excellent standards in service quality, safety and security and thrives on differentiation of the customer experience based on their demographic and psychographic details. This report shows that cruise lines that continue to focus on the younger travellers will be able to come up with relevant strategies for targeting this new market segment. Nevertheless, they must pay attention to traditional psychographic factors relevant for their market strategies.
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