The Challenge: How to Fill a Cruise Ship
A Better Offer: $250 Onboard Credit
On April 21—nine days later—Norwegian Cruise Line upped the ante. Instead of $100 in onboard credit, the company offered me $250 in onboard credit. The destination choices: Caribbean, Holy Land, Panama Canal, Pacific Coastal, Eastern Mediterranean and a Transatlantic crossing.
Click on any of those six destinations, and you are linked to the same general landing page, which was all about the Latitudes Membership program.
I’m a very impatient guy with a poor attention span. When I click on a picture of the library at Ephesus and the caption “Eastern Mediterranean,” I want cruises to Greece and Turkey—not a pitch for a program that I am already a member of. The Web people created a disconnect. Again, I zapped it.
Online marketers, always remember: You are a mouse click away from oblivion.
An Even Better Offer: $300 Onboard Credit
The following day, I received a third offer—“Last Minute Cruise Deals from New Orleans” with up to $300 in onboard credit (if I used my American Express Card). That got my attention.
Then I thought ... $100 off on April 12; $250 off on April 21; $300 off on April 22. Jeez, if I play the waiting game, will Norwegian up the stakes to $500 off?
This is the same marketing territory as magazine and newsletter renewals. The cruise departure date is the equivalent of the day a subscription is up—but with a difference. When the ship sails, it’s all over, good-bye. All unsold cabins represent dead loss.
The Art and Science of Pricing
In the world of magazines, newspapers and newsletters, when the subscription is up, the circulation folks usually keep sending issues for a while—known as grace copies. These gratis issues contribute to the circulation rate base—the number of subscribers guaranteed to advertisers—and thus still contribute to overall revenue. All the while, the subscriber is hounded with renewal efforts.