Over the last decade there have been significant changes in the travel and tourism industry. The cruise industry is an exciting modern and rapidly expanding global industry. During the current decade, it has continued to expand its capacity and develop new cruising opportunities for vacationers, now offering their customers a wider variety of packages at different lengths and price ranges. This has helped them to expand their market in the cruising areas such as the Caribbean, Europe and North America.
There are three main players in the cruise industry today:
“Over the recent years one of the defining characteristics of the cruise industry has been the consolidation of the major players. Today it is dominated by three major companies: Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Star Cruises Group.” (Dowling, K. 2006.)
CARNIVAL CORPORATION is the largest global cruise company operating with more than 60 ships and 13 brands. Since 1972 the company has grown from one ship to a leading global tourism brand. The second largest cruise group is ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, which include Celebrity Cruises, and is mainly focused on the North American market. STAR CRUISES GROUP is the third largest company after Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises. It dominates the Asia-Pacific market. With regards to brand awareness, reputation and successful branding may give a cruise liner significant market power. It is very important for the company to gain a good reputation in order to keep heir customers remaining loyal, and avoid having them switching to other competitors. The three market leaders are established and successful companies. (Dowling, K.2006.). The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA, 1996), suggests that many cruise passengers are repeat cruisers. “Using their customer loyalty schemes and customer satisfaction surveys, cruise companies are well placed to find out what their customers actually want.” (Cartwright, R. & Baird, C. 1999.) This benefits the whole industry greatly, as they can properly market, manage, and sell the correct product their customers yearn for.
Changing target market:
In the past, cruising was assumed to be for the elderly, white, upper class holiday. Now the target market is drastically changing. It is now affordable for many people of any age and social classes. There are many designed ships suitable for family holiday ”What was a once in a life time experience is now a once a year experience for many”. (Cartwright,R. 1999.Pg-72)
Cruises now range anywhere from theme cruises, adventure or experience cruises, singles and family cruise holidays, as well as specific niche cruise. With regards to health awareness in the market, many cruise ships have now included many fitness programs, spa centers, special meals and lap pools (Dowling,K.2006) In order to attract more customers, cruise lines need to offer something different from its competitors. Porter (1985) states two basic ways to obtain competitive advantage:
* -Offering similar product to competitors to a cheaper cost * -Offering a different product.
With the industry growing and competition constantly rising, “Cruise ships have embraced new technologies and many cruise liners have provided a variety of ways for passengers to keep themselves occupied.” (Dowling, K. 2006. Pg – 417) an example of this is demonstrated by an innovation produced by Sea Vision. “SeaVison has developed an interactive television system that not only improves passengers’ services and the deliverance of more entertainment options but also creates the opportunity for cruise ships to generate incremental revenue and the rise of on-board productivity.” (Dowling & Vasudavan 2000) Companies are always looking...