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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02-07-2005, 08:21 PM
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Geeez, I just responded to someone that was posting a question about getting the best cruise price. They wanted to drive to Florida to see if they could save money by showing up at the terminal at the very last minute to purchase a cruise. I have to say, I am not sure that I would want to cruise with someone of this mentality. I mean, what is more important, the cost of the cruise, or the cruise itself? There have been plenty of really cheap cruises out there, but in reality; the trade off for the cruise line is “how much should we charge up-front vs. how much should we take on-board?

I was heavily involved in the Hawaii market in the 1960s and 70s and there were operators that would advertise prices for a vacation to Hawaii that seemed unbelievable. Of course, they were. They would sell their services below cost to attract bargain hunters and then require them to go to a “breakfast briefing” in order to pick up their return airline tickets. The “breakfast briefing” was conducted by some of the sharpest salesman in the world, who would intimidate the visitors out of hundreds of dollars for “optional tours” while they were in Hawaii. It was sickening. A charismatic Hawaiian guy would bully visitors into spending hundreds of dollars for tours that would really only cost a small percentage of the fee, if they used the existing tourist infrastructure. The guy was so successful at it that he ended up quite wealthy.

So I am sitting here wondering what the cruise lines have done wrong to evolve folks like the guy posting for the cheapest price. He doesn’t see the cruise experience, as being rewarding, only the price he has paid for it.

So my question is this. Do you see your next cruise as a bargain that you got, or a lifetime experience that you are going to share with you fellow cruisers. Have cruises lapsed into a commodity market (as the poster suggests) or do they represent a lifetime experience?

Finally, have the cruise lines themselves created this monster?

Tom
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 02-07-2005, 08:21 PM
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Geeez, I just responded to someone that was posting a question about getting the best cruise price. They wanted to drive to Florida to see if they could save money by showing up at the terminal at the very last minute to purchase a cruise. I have to say, I am not sure that I would want to cruise with someone of this mentality. I mean, what is more important, the cost of the cruise, or the cruise itself? There have been plenty of really cheap cruises out there, but in reality; the trade off for the cruise line is “how much should we charge up-front vs. how much should we take on-board?

I was heavily involved in the Hawaii market in the 1960s and 70s and there were operators that would advertise prices for a vacation to Hawaii that seemed unbelievable. Of course, they were. They would sell their services below cost to attract bargain hunters and then require them to go to a “breakfast briefing” in order to pick up their return airline tickets. The “breakfast briefing” was conducted by some of the sharpest salesman in the world, who would intimidate the visitors out of hundreds of dollars for “optional tours” while they were in Hawaii. It was sickening. A charismatic Hawaiian guy would bully visitors into spending hundreds of dollars for tours that would really only cost a small percentage of the fee, if they used the existing tourist infrastructure. The guy was so successful at it that he ended up quite wealthy.

So I am sitting here wondering what the cruise lines have done wrong to evolve folks like the guy posting for the cheapest price. He doesn’t see the cruise experience, as being rewarding, only the price he has paid for it.

So my question is this. Do you see your next cruise as a bargain that you got, or a lifetime experience that you are going to share with you fellow cruisers. Have cruises lapsed into a commodity market (as the poster suggests) or do they represent a lifetime experience?

Finally, have the cruise lines themselves created this monster?

Tom
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Old 02-07-2005, 10:38 PM
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Tom
I don't believe the cruise industry created this monster, in fact, I am sure they didn't. Who I see to blame is the overzealous sales agencies. Pick up a newspaper, in my hometown of only 60,000, and you will see a quarter page ad from cruise.com, advertising the greatest deals, lowest prices, sail for less. The hype asssociated with this is the consumer sees only low price. They do little, if anything at all, to promote a cruise, or the cruise agency. So someone wanting to find the cheapest cruise is probably one who has been hypnotized in wanting this product. And you don't only see it for cruises. Everything we buy, or need, is drilled into our heads by ads, etc. As travel agents, the task of taking these folks, and reversing the reasons they should take a cruise, selling it as a benefit, is monumental. I am not letting the cruise lines off scot free, as they help sell the sizzle, and then lure you into their own sales pitches, with a very captive audience. Once ones sees past all this hype, then can they treasure the moments spent onboard, and look back at a truly marvelous time.

David Landry
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Old 02-07-2005, 10:39 PM
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OOPS! I meant to say 'They do little, if anything at all, to promote a cruise, or the cruise industry.'
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Old 02-08-2005, 03:47 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Tom Ogg:
I have to say, I am not sure that I would want to cruise with someone of this mentality. I mean, what is more important, the cost of the cruise, or the cruise itself?


Hi Tom,

well - we have been having similar problems here in Germany. With the fairly weak economy, people have been trying to get as much as possible for as little as possible. A big electronics store chain has created an advertising slogan, which has become a credo for the way more and more people act when it comes to buying something. The slogan is called "Geiz ist geil" which in English means something like "Miserliness is wicked".

quote:
They would sell their services below cost to attract bargain hunters and then require them to go to a “breakfast briefing” in order to pick up their return airline tickets. The “breakfast briefing” was conducted by some of the sharpest salesman in the world, who would intimidate the visitors out of hundreds of dollars for “optional tours” while they were in Hawaii.


This system still works in Europe. There are lots and lots of offers for "bargain holiday trips" to Turkey around here and in other European countries. They work in exactly the way you describe.

quote:
Do you see your next cruise as a bargain that you got, or a lifetime experience that you are going to share with you fellow cruisers. Have cruises lapsed into a commodity market (as the poster suggests) or do they represent a lifetime experience?


I'm always happy when I have made a bargain on anything, but that's by far not my highest priority. I wouldn't take a cruise because it is cheap but because of other reasons. It might be that I have been wanting to sail on the ship for quite some time, I might be particularly looking forward to the ports of call. A bargain is a nice extra, but the cruise experience is what I am looking forward to and what is important to me.

quote:
Finally, have the cruise lines themselves created this monster?


I don't think they have created it (I think the "bargain mentality" is a result of the weak economy), but they also don't do anything to help changing people's mentality.

I would like to give you an example: I had an interesting discussion with somebody in a German forum (not at CC) recently. He thought that cruises on German market ships were grossly overprized. I told him, well, if you compare the basic fares to what American cruise lines charge, yes, it would appear so. However, this is only true if you compare the basic fares only. When you realize that on German ships, onboard prizes for drinks are often only half as high as on American ships, when you realize that liquor bought ashore will of course not be confiscated, when you realize that there are no art auctions, when you realize that shore excursions are often significantly less expensive - then in the end a cruise on a German ship might very well be cheaper than one on an American ship. But some people - and the number has been increasing rapidly - only look at the basic fare without thinking about what additional costs might be involved.
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Raoul Fiebig

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Old 02-08-2005, 07:05 AM
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I believe that most people want to get the lowest price and not feel that they over paid. I dont' ask anyone about how much they paid on a cruise because I don't want to know that I paid more. Everone has heard the urban legend about getting upgraded from an inside to the owners suite and they believe that it is true. Or about standing at the dock before the ship leaves and getting a cruise for $100.

Everyone is trying to save a dollar on everthing they purchase. Look at all the books that are written about traveling cheap. As far back as I can remember If a store openned that had cheaper prices word would spread and eventually the other stores went out of business. Too bad if you didn't get the same service. People wanted a lower price. It happens all the time. Customers will go to a full service store, take up hours of the salesperson"s time and then buy the same product somewhere else for $15.00 less on a $1000 item.

In some ways I agree with you Tom. I don't want to sail with the the people of the mentality that you are referring to. You know that those are the same passengers that will still want the same services and not tip. These people are one of the reasons that the cruise lines have prepaid tipping.
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Old 02-08-2005, 01:33 PM
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I am a beliver in seeking out the best price. However, price must come with value. If you don't get the service you need or desire, then low price is not a good value. If you don't belive this, think about the time when you could go to a hardware, get advise on how to make a necessary repair and buy what you needed to make that repair. Try that at a big box home improvement store. But, they are cheaper and have all but elliminated the local hardware stores.
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Old 02-08-2005, 02:06 PM
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I agree with the "must get the lowest price" mentality not being the be all and end all. I fell into that trap in booking our cruise this June. Booked with an internet agency that "beat" a local agency's price by a few dollars. In the meantime, I have been the one filling out paperwork for my mom's wheelchair, correcting the misspelled names on the reservations, constantly folowing up with the cruiseline to be sure that dining requests have been submitted.....the list seems to be growing. It would have been worth the extra few dollars to have someone local take care of these issues for me.

Live & learn.......
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:37 AM
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The culture here in Uk is much the same as that i have read on the other comments, unfortunatly.
I have always run my shop with the highest priority placed on customer service and meeting customers needs and exceeding expectations when choosing a holiday.
However, we are fighting a losing battle when everywhere the customer turns they are encouraged to think price and pound signs.
We have 'we wont be beaten on any price' from our competitors, encouraging customers to go from shop to shop playing one off against the other for a few quid, 'book on line and save''teletext''call-centres''guaranteed lowest prices''price-watch' to name but a few, all are one and the same and fuelling the problem.
I have always offered my customers competitive prices, and there will always be the competition and lets face it a bit of healthy competition doesnt hurt.
I, however, do not like to see this price emphasis and customers who dont feel happy to book with the first person they visit because they are taught to go into every shop and try every website first, even if the holiday is right and within budget!

We should go for 'value for money' not bottom line cost. The competiton will always be there...its just the way the game is played that needs to stop.

and where do all these internet and call centre customers go when they have a problem? youve guessed it! but we are always understanding and help where we can, and guess where they come back to...
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Old 02-09-2005, 07:16 AM
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I totally agree with the "price with value" concept. I suspect this is why the cruise lines are trying to eliminate on-line discounters.

Tom
 
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