Research Question: Will the 2016 wave season see strength despite heightened security concerns?
Report Available: January 7, 2016
Blueshift’s initial research shows cruise lines aggressively ramping up their advertising and promotional efforts to woo cruisers for the 2016 wave season. Activity in China’s cruise market is heating up as more Chinese become excited about cruising. The recent attacks in Paris have put a damper on the entire tourism industry, and industry experts are unclear how much impact the cruise industry will feel.
- As the cruise industry prepares for wave season 2016, all three major cruise companies, NCLH, CCL, and RCL have ramped up marketing efforts and hired new primary ad or digital agencies. RCL plans on spending 35% more on ads in Q4. All are hungry for share in China, with many headlines pointing to CCL as a current leader there with inroads made in the last year.
- In the wake of France’s terror event, many, including 20% of corporate travel managers, believe tourism will be negatively affected all over the Eurozone for some time. So far, vacationers that have booked through travel agents have not been cancelling trips to Paris, but instead have been calling to see that tours were still running. Several cruise lines have given travelers the option to cancel or change dates penalty-free. Nobody is biting yet, though many have been mulling their options and may pull the cancellation trigger later on.
- China is still viewed as the major growth opportunity by most in the cruise industry. Almost 700,000 Chinese cruised in 2014, and that number is predicted to grow to 4.5 million by 2020. CCL’s Costa was seeing more return customers in China, even in the face of increasing competition.
- Blueshift’s Jan. 8, 2015, Cruise Industry report forecasted an improvement for cruise bookings in 2015. 62% of sources believed bookings would increase by about 5%, while 12% of sources believed bookings would decrease. Fares were anticipated to rise in the mid-single digits and capacity was expected to be near full. Two of three China sources named RCL as the top cruise player in China.
Will travelers be resilient and stick with their wave season cruising plans? Is CCL pulling ahead in the race to win Chinese cruisers’ hearts? Will the change in cruise line advertising make any difference in bookings? To gain insight into the cruise line industry, Blueshift will gather data and issue a market research report from independent sources in the following areas: Travel agents in the U.S., Travel agents in China, Travel agents in Europe, Suppliers, and Industry specialists.
Companies: Royal Caribbean (RCL), Carnival (CCL), Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH), Disney (DIS), Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (TYO:9101), Genting Hong Kong Limited (HKG:0678)