Are You Collecting Email Addresses?

One of the first things I tell someone starting in the cruise business is to collect contact info (email and mailing address) of as many people who like to cruise as possible...especially those that don't currently buy from you.

That sounds odd to some....collect the addresses of people that don't choose to do business with you? I've had people tell me ....but they didn't book with me why would I bother? The greatest indicator that someone will cruise in the future is that they've cruised in the past. So even if they choose another agency over you, put them on your email and mailing list. Remember, cruises are like potato chips...nobody takes just one. If someone has booked previously with someone else don't write them off.... they are likely not loyal to anyone...yet. Loyalty is earned, and while a competitor may have won business from a client in the short term, in the long term you may end up winning more business from that client if you're persistent.

When I was at Royal Caribbean, I was privy to some amazing consumer research. My favorite study involved calling consumers 1 week following their cruise on a Royal Caribbean Ship and asking the client the following questions (answers were fill in the blank) :
  • What cruise line did you sail? ________________
  • What cruise ship were you on? ___________________
  • What agency did you book your cruise at?________________
  • What is your travel agent's name? ________________

An overwhelming percentage of consumers got the answers to each and every one of those questions WRONG, and the question with the lowest percentage of correct answers was "what is your travel agent's name?." The question with the highest percentage of correct answers was "what cruise line did you sail?", and below 50% got this question correct. The study found that people remember features, benefits and logos much better than names, and few people recall their agent experience.

This makes a strong case for cycle marketing to consumers before, during and AFTER the sale in order to keep a client. Those that aren't doing this are losing business to those that do. Make sure you're one who constantly markets to your clients via email (it's free) and via direct mail. The overall cost is tiny compared with the return on investment.

By the way....can I have your email address?

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