May 17, 2018 – “All hospitality companies should study and learn from the business, branding and technological lessons born from the cruise sector,” suggests Thomas Mielke, Managing Director of AETHOS Consulting Group. “What this sector accomplishes is nothing short of remarkable; it is a unique amalgam of hotel, restaurant, gaming, entertainment and travel-tourism components, all packaged within a mobile resort that is typically global in its operations.”
Recently, AETHOS colleague Dr. James Houran, who holds a PhD. in organizational psychology and serves as AETHOS’ expert in performance management and leadership coaching, enjoyed first-hand experience as a passenger aboard the inaugural sail of the MS Symphony of the Seas, the latest Oasis-class, owned and operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises. Dr. Jim was also privy to the company’s equally impressive market and financial achievements, as well as the bold plans that define Royal Caribbean’s future branding initiatives.
The details that can be shared serve as examples of one company’s commitment to evolving and innovating its brand experience, and more broadly speaking, the current and upcoming standards in the cruise industry. Details can be found in AETHOS’ newest case study: Branding, Experiences and the New Breed of Cruiser, co-authored by AETHOS Managing Directors Mielke, Houran and Andrew Hazelton.
Key take-aways from the Report include:
- Space activation means more than offering many types of activities for diverse guests. It entails creating an “organic flow” among spaces that allow guests to avoid feelings of mental or physical confinement.
- Aesthetic diversity beyond the cold and impersonal elements of mechanical or engineering infrastructure, space activation was coupled with aesthetic diversity to produce different moods around the ship.
- Experiential segregation encouraged by the space activation and aesthetic diversity was suitable to appeal to specific age brackets.
- Social Platforms that promote a balance of interaction and seclusion.
“Cruise companies have understood that ‘volume’ does not automatically trickle down to the profit line.” explains Hazelton. “It has become a question of striking the right balance between offering the perfect ship and facilities, with the right design aesthetics as well as the most considered itinerary and program of activities, both onboard and offshore. And all this while keeping in mind that the profile of the average cruise customer has also changed.”
“We have the experienced cruisers, the first-timers, the Millennials and Gen Y and Xers, as well as – the most exciting customers of them all as they represent a huge untapped opportunity for most cruise operators – the up-and-coming affluent Asian travellers.”
“The innovative cruise operators are currently shaping the industry for a new breed of cruisers years to come,” adds Mielke. “It appears that the seemingly impossible goal has largely been reached – the ‘one-ship-fits-all’ approach that simultaneously offers uniquely customized and targeted holidays for each of its guests. In the process of delivering bold business visions and brand promises, the cruise industry arguably is also helping to define product, service and pricing standards; this puts positive pressure on all hospitality sectors to reflect soberly on their own performance and brand positioning… and up their game accordingly.”