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Modern cruise ships boast on-board amenities that would not be out of place in a five-star hotel. The cruise industry, which is one of the fastest growing segments over the past decade, have invested heavily in marketing to try to change the perception that cruising is purely the domain of the mature traveller. And with the major cruise lines having a range of brands and price-points, each of the traveller tribes identified in our research will be able to find something of interest.
Simplicity Searchers will see cruising as a repositioned package holiday, staying on a ship rather than a hotel. A cruise is also relatively easy to budget for, with meals and entertainment usually included in the price, so cruise lines and agents should include this in their marketing campaigns.
Cultural Purists are a difficult sell, although the cruise industry would argue that some of the specialty, lecture-based lines can resonate with the Cultural Purists' desire to use travel as a means of educating themselves. River cruise lines might be able to position their self-improvement tours to Cultural Purists. And as the cruise industry continues to innovate, niche brands offering adventure and experiential cruises could appeal to this tribe
Social Capital Seekers will relish the chance to post social media updates from a different city every other day. River cruises can also satisfy this need for a Facebook-friendly itinerary. Cruise lines whose itineraries feature lots of port calls can appeal to this sector, but first the industry needs to ensure that on-board Wi-Fi is affordable and reliable, especially when at sea.
Reward Hunters are unlikely to be interested in the 5000-berth mega ships, but there are a number of small, luxury cruise lines which provide a luxury boutique hotel experience. The high staff-to-passenger ratios that these lines pride themselves on gives Reward Hunters the level of service and attention they desire. Cruise lines can offer some truly unique experiences, from Alaska to Patagonia. Reward Hunters will expect the excursions on offer to be as memorable as the service on board.
Cruise ships are increasingly used for meetings, conferences and events, giving the cruise line access to Obligation Meeters, which they would not normally attract. Service and experience on board count, even if the ship is being hired out as a venue. Cruise lines which host meetings and events should work with the organisers on follow-up marketing campaigns.
Concerns over environmental issues and workers' rights would deter many Ethical Travellers from taking a cruise, so the cruise industry should engage more on these issues. To address these concerns, cruise lines should be more vocal in their marketing about their sustainability initiatives.
Check out our Future Traveller Tribes 2030: Beyond Air Travel report for more insights like this.