Monday, July 21, 2014

Carnival Cruise Lines Preparing for Change

Cruise deals are the order of the day, as everyone from cruise lines to travel agents cut rates to get people on the boats. That means many cruise lines are starting to feel the change in their bottom lines. Even industry leaders like Carnival are losing money.

Ronn Torossian said the cruise lines may not be hurting – after all, Carnival topped its profit in the second quarter by $41 million compared to last year. But, Carnival also understands the one foundational rule in business: things change. If you’re not ready, you will be left behind.

At some point, a competitor will likely drop the going rate for what you do below what you can afford to charge. You might be able to take the loss for a short period, but no business can afford to lose money over the long term. You need a better plan. Torossian says targeted consumer PR can be that plan.

If you cannot compete on price, there are still plenty of options to pick, and niches to fill.

Some customers will choose quality over price every time. This may not always apply in the online world, but you can bet it’s a top selling point in brick-and-mortar marketing.

Service and amenities are another powerful one-two punch. How are you crafting a positive experience for your customers? That is a key question even price conscious consumers will ask. Everyone wants to be treated well, and there is an absolute lowest common denominator customers will accept at each price point.

Variety or expertise can be both tangible and intangible ways to shore up and increase your customer base, even when a competitor is trying to get you into a losing price war. How can you engage and inspire your customers to stay loyal to you?

No matter how you choose to adapt to a changing marketplace, the key element is HOW you choose to convey these messages. Stories work much better than features and benefits. Having a strong consumer public relations campaign is vital. Who is helping you tell your story?

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