What, in your opinion, is the USP of Princess Cruise? How important is the Indian market for the Business of your Cruise Ship?
Princess Cruises operates a fleet of 15 modern ships renowned for their innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities, all provided in an environment of exceptional customer service. While each ship may have some different & new features, the overall product remains same. Over the years, Princess guests have consistently enjoyed warm and gracious service in an atmosphere of comfortable elegance. This experience has been enhanced with the noted breakthrough in the vacation industry – Princess MedallionClass– offering a number of new features that leverage touchless technologies and significantly enhance and personalise the guest experience, as well as support new health protocols.
Princess is known as an industry innovator, having introduced many new features and programs through the years that were so well received they were later adopted by other lines, becoming standard throughout the industry. Among them are affordable balconies on many of the ships’ outside cabins, 24-hour dining, and a choice of dining venues and flexible dining times. Princess ships also debuted features such as Movies Under the Stars poolside theatres, The Sanctuary adults-only oasis and weddings at sea officiated by the cruise line’s captains.
For Princess Cruises, India is a strategic source market with so much of diversity in the buying behaviour of consumers. Somehow, the onboard offerings, the promotions and the pricing of all popular destinations of Princess strikes a chord with sophisticated Indian travellers. Add to this the excellent relations we enjoy with the travel fraternity across the country – the result is a healthy business mix where everyone in the distribution cycle is happy.
Which age groups & social strata is being focussed upon in India by Princess Cruises in Indian market?
Princess Cruises is considered one of the best cruise lines for multi-generational vacations. Our focus in India remains on friends & family groups travelling together. More often these guests belong to the HNI & super HNI strata who plan their vacations very meticulously as a result of which they get better value than the last-minute travellers. In India, such guests are not restricted to just main metros and mini-metros. We find them coming from all over the country – at last count, we have guests booking on Princess Cruises from 45 different cities in India. This is also the outcome of extensive market coverage by our sales team during last 23 years since Princess established its presence in India.
What strategies is your company implementing to drive growth in the cruise tourism sector, and how are these strategies adapting to the changing travel trends and customer preferences?
We have an excellent distribution through travel agents across India which we have developed over last 14 years and we would continue to nurture and expand this by way of education, training and market support. We have also enhanced our social media presence which has helped a lot of young consumers to relate to the versatility of the cruise holidays. Needless to say, no strategy is good if it does not cover the entire 360 degrees of marketing – we believe is consistency in relationships and service delivery – this has proved to be our biggest strength and we would never lose sight of bigger goals which is the foundation of marketing strategy.
Broadly speaking, we work on an inclusive style of marketing strategy where we connect and include all the stakeholders – the consumers, the distributors and the cruise lines. In this, we keep generating marketing material and tactical promotions with the help of the cruise line and keep sharing with the distribution at all times. Many agencies use the marketing material – posts, EDMs and promotional videos of Princess Cruises to further their own direct reach to the consumer – therefore the end consumer gets a standardised and focus message from all sources which help them in making up their mind faster.
Please share about the financial security offered to booked passengers by Princess At Ease program.
Popularly known as CFW (Cancellation Fee Waiver), this is a cruise cancellation penalty waiver program available for passengers cruising onboard princess cruises. The program offers cancellation fee waivers well as baggage protection in a single package, neither may be purchased separately. This non-refundable program is not trip interruption insurance and only covers cancellation fees and passenger’s baggage while on the cruise, cruise tourorCruisePlus and is available for purchase at the deposit stage.
The plan protects the booking against cancellation penalties up to 3 working days prior to the sailing but our office needs to be notified at least 4 working days prior due to ships operating in different time zones. Princess Cruises instituted this unique program more than a decade ago and there is no other cruise line probably, which offer such a facility to passengers. This program provides a heightened sense of financial security which is why this is termed as At Ease.