What We Can Do To Help The Cruise Lines
Written by: Kuki
This week an article by Associate Press talked about how the airlines are considering charging additional fees if family members flying together want to insure they are seated together on their flights.
The sighted reason, “Airlines are searching for more ways to raise revenue to offset rising fuel costs” (even though that same reasoning has been the airlines arguments for the past few years as we’ve seen a barrel of oil go up to $140 – down closer to $70 – back up towards $110 – and back down near its present $92).
The cruise lines too have been struggling with budgeting the volatility in fuel pricing. They however did handle it somewhat differently, instituting additional “fuel surcharges” on cruise fares when gasoline prices went high, and to their credit removed those surcharges when prices dropped. In their contracts they did reserve the right to re-institute the fuel surcharges should the price of a barrel of oil go above $75 again. Though it did peak again well over that threshold, and still sits above it, the cruise lines have made the decision not to re-institute the fuel surcharges.
I hate flying and the terrible way the airlines treat their passengers. Whereas both the airline industry and the cruise industry are both working in a difficult economy to produce profitability, I think the cruise lines do a much better job of trying to make the customers happy, than the airlines do. As a result of that more customer friendly general attitude, I’ve decided it’s my job to help the industry produce additional revenues, and come up with some ideas for them.
It’s time for me to pay up, by coming up with ideas which will encourage you to pay more.
-1- Many cruise lines offer priority boarding as an amenity to members of their “frequent cruiser programs”. And they have found it is a highly appreciated amenity that passengers value. Knowing passengers value it, should be enough of a tip off. If it has “value” to customers, doesn’t that mean we – meaning the cruise line’s and me trying to help them - should easily be able to monetize that value. No doubt anyone who gives any thought to this will think I just stole the idea from the airlines (some of which are already charging for priority boarding), but I’m going to call it my own.
That way, when instituted, the cruise lines can tell everyone who gets upset by the extra charge that they should be mad at me, not them, because it was my idea. Now, don’t you go trying to tell me you’ve already paid for the privilege with all the repeat business you’ve given to the cruise line. Your brand loyalty is admirable, but it’s time to further display that loyalty by paying extra.
- 2 -On warm weather cruises, on pretty much every cruise, there’s incredible demand for those sun beds/loungers (what are they really called anyway?) located near to the pools. That demand also always creates problems, with people rushing out early in the mornings to place personal items on them, to “claim” them for the day. Then, those who were unable to wake up early enough to “mark them” , return from the cruise and post to the message boards that something has to be done to deal with the problem.
To erase the problem, we ( yes cruise lines.. you and me) only have to begin each day by having the “loungers” in a pile on deck, manned by our lounger rental guy, and have passengers present their cruise charge cards to sign for and rent them. He should have a printer handy, so he can print labels for each lounger to announce who is the current temporary owner of each lounger. I don’t think we should just rent them out for the day, though that could be a higher priced option. We should rent them out by the hour as well. Because, then we open up an entire additional revenue stream, with the ability to charge late fees.
-3- Self disembarkation – where passengers are allowed to leave the ship first, when the cruise ends (if they can carry all their own bags off the ship) - has become a very popular option. So, with this popularity, isn’t it time to charge people extra for the privilege? For those who want to stay in their cabins until the very last minute before disembarking the ship, they should be more than willing to pay a few dollars more to do so.
I suppose it would be best for me to stop offering my “great ideas” for additional revenue before a virtual lynch mob appears in my email ”inbox”.
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Posted: May 29th, 2012 under Kuki.