People had more money, industrial revolution, the war, the post war recovery, airplane industry, in the 80’s
The industrial revolution made a rise of wealthy people, large passenger ships for the economic and social elite – they were travelling to exotic countries. But after World War II, the development of air travel dented the growth of cruising, as it became more fashionable to use passenger aircraft. The post war recovery in 1960 has made Cruises to become popular with people in their middle ages and as a winter sun destination. In the late 1960’s the airplane industry took off which caused a decline in cruises. Since the 80’s the sector has increased steadily at an estimated annual growth rate of 8%.
Changes in technology
Cruise companies are starting to incorporate next generation IT technology and telecommunication systems that are virtually invisible – and the best thing is, it is not just the staff reaping the rewards, it is for passengers too.
So, what are some of the innovations on the market? For It is about making significant investments in software applications that focus on guest information, their cruising preferences and their onboard spending behaviour, for example, technology in place that lets staff identify if a guest likes a glass of milk every night, soft pillows on their beds, or chocolate mints left in their rooms..
But how do they get this kind of information? "The ships" Fleet Management System polls the fleet on a nightly basis. The information is then fed into the Customer Relationship Management application. These reports carry demographics: nationality, age and gender. They can also bring up a guest receipt, which identifies where money is being spent, what excursions are being taken – and even the ones they wanted to take, but couldn’t. Guest preferences are then sent all the way to the stewards, who are then better informed to take care of customer needs. In essence, the CRM application helps to focus on "personalising" the cruise experience."
This service is key to what the passenger of the future really wants, even if they don’t realise it. It is the kind of technology that not only has the ability to create a "seamless experience" and attract returning custom, it is also vital for gathering key marketing information. "As well as maintaining a record of a customer transaction, the software can keep track of a person’s whereabouts. At first a sinister thought, but the advantages are many-fold. There are a lot of eating facilities on our ships, so if a guest, for example, chooses not to show up at a table, and go to another restaurant they’ll know straight away; they can then give the table to someone who’s waiting.
Number of cruise operators
With cruise lines, size sometimes matters inversely. The industry has, particularly in the past decade, become dominated by a group of big names, a sort of marine G8. These are: Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Star Cruises and P&O Princess. There are endless shifts and machinations within the industry, and several previously independent lines are now owned by US corporation Carnival, whose fleet is literally the size of a small navy. The big ships on the big lines put on a good, solid performance - pretty much what travellers have come to expect from cruising in recent years. But that's not the only kind of cruise on offer. The smaller the line, often, the more intimate and original the vessels and routes. The evocatively named French Compagnie des Iles du Ponant operates two small ships, Le Ponant and Le Levant. Le Ponant cruises the Mediterranean and Caribbean while Le Levant ventures further afield into South...