Social media is a new marketing phenomenon that has opened businesses and consumers up to new possibilities, especially when considering the cruise industry. Annually, there is about a 7.7% increased growth in passengers aboard vessels. Cruising offers a hotel destination experience with the opportunity to house major events. Cruising has a large market for leisure and business that is constantly growing.
A decade ago, the commercial cruise industry was in danger of sinking. The average age of passengers aboard cruise ships was 50. The market group was quickly aging out along with the industry. Cruise lines soon realized that they needed to tailor cruises to a younger crowd, and social media was the key to engaging this new target market. People constantly discuss their travels through social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Through extensive analysis of social media, the industry realized that the target millennials want a vacation that is entertainment-driven, with the opportunity to meet new people, as well as all-inclusive cost options. The traditional 50 plus age market wanted their cruises to be family oriented, and contain exclusive ports that are more peaceful and relaxing. These are two different types of trips, and cruise lines have tried to do their best to integrate them. Millennials spoke poorly on social media about cruises when there wasn’t a variety of entertainment options. However, they have also endorsed companies solely on available entertainment options.
For example, Carnival, a popular name in the cruise line industry, is targeting bloggers to
get the word out about their company. Carnival’s Senior Director hosts a blog that includes fun facts as well as promotes cruise bloggers and everything in between. Carnival allows hundreds of bloggers to come aboard and describe their experiences. This allows Carnival to gauge how bloggers are feeling about their company giving the company a direct link to the blogger to ensure their happiness while they are online.
Overall, social media has allowed the industry to bounce back in a cost effective manner and provided means to directly reach their target market.