The Challenge: How to Fill a Cruise Ship
How many renewal efforts are sent? Quite simply, you keep sending them until either the customer tells you to stop or breakeven is passed and they cease to be profitable.
I spent years as a freelancer writing (among other things) magazine renewal series. The mantra from my mentor and client, consultant Paul Goldberg, was that effort No. 1 should be the very best offer, and it should be proclaimed as such—with fanfare.
The reason: If the subscriber ignores the first effort and a better offer comes along later, it’s an excuse to wait and see if the offers keep getting better and better. In the world of magazine renewals, a certain number of savvy subscribers compare renewal offers and hang onto the best offer in the series. (After all, they are still receiving grace copies, even though the subscription is up). When the magazine ceases to arrive, they pull out the best offer and renew. Or they go online and see if they get an even better offer.
“The consumer isn’t a moron,” wrote the late David Ogilvy. “She is your wife.” And given this lousy economy, consumers are being very choosy.
Cruise Line Efforts Are Different
In the case of a cruise line, the offers can get better and better as the sailing date draws closer. With a slew of empty cabins, it makes sense to offer progressively more attractive deals, even to the point of breakeven or small loss on the ticket, because per-passenger expenditures onboard average an additional 33 percent of the ticket cost.
If reservations are off budget, the marketing people can list cruises at cut-rate prices with the remainder cruise websites. In the mediaplayer at upper right are three cruises at distress prices listed on April 25 with departure dates of April 30 and May 1. The cost: as little as $50 per person a night—a huge saving under the average $165 a night.