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p24 cruise dec5 1/12/08 15:07 Page 24
Lee Hayhurst
020 7921 8001
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Survey results
Retailer prepares for new year sales blitz by releasing survey
results and launching a loyalty club. Lee Hayhurst reports
to influence
Thomas Cook sets
agents’ selling
THE FINDINGS of the first Cruise Thomas Cook
up a cruise club
report have already prompted the retailer to
review its cruise training. CRUISE Thomas Cook has kicked off its big sales
The survey of 5,000 customers, released last push for the coming year by launching a cruise
week, revealed some possibly unexpected in- club for customers and an exclusive buy-one-get-
sights into the likes and dislikes of UK customers. one-free deal.
In particular, customers rated destinations as Launched on Monday, The Cruise Club is free
the second most important factor when choos- to join, has a website and monthly newsletter,
ing a cruise, behind price. and will offer benefits such as preferential
As a result Jenny Ellis, head of Cruise Thomas foreign exchange rates and the chance to go on
Cook, said the retailer was working on improving “cruise taster” ships visits in UK ports.
the port information on its website. Also this week, as part of a deal with P&O
The survey found more than 50% of customers Cruises, Thomas Cook has kick-started its new
research ports in advance and one in three said year peak sales period campaign by offering
they preferred to do their own thing in port a free mini-cruise with every P&O cruise sold
rather than take organised excursions. costing more than £2,300.
Tipping was also identified as an area of Jenny Ellis, head of Cruise Thomas Cook, said
confusion for UK customers, so Cook has drawn the club’s launch on December 1, just before
up a fact sheet about ships’ tipping policies. Cook’s annual conference in Turkey, would help
In terms of entertainment, customers said raise cruising’s profile among agents ahead of
they liked West End-style musicals and plays. the traditional January sales rush.
Ellis said Cook agents would use these findings “From a retailer’s point of view, we need to
to start recommending particular lines or ships create awareness from December to come out of
Sea what they say Cook report
on the basis of the entertainment they offered. the blocks ready to go,” she said.
When asked which kind of shops they’d most The push coincides with new programmes and
like to see on ships, respondents’ top three were updated pricing issued by the major lines. 79%
of Cook’s 5,000 passengers said
cruises were best value holiday
Marks & Spencer, Boots and Waterstones. Thomas Cook plans to add a loyalty scheme to
There was also considerable support for total The Cruise Club to encourage repeat bookings. 82%
would definitely or quite likely
book again with the same line
smoking bans. The operator also said it will use its position
Thomas Cook hopes cruise lines will use the as the largest UK cruise retailer to negotiate 69%
said evening shows were the
most important onboard facility
survey results to help develop their services and more exclusive deals with operators similar to
products. that it already has with Island Cruises. 57%
said price was the most
important factor when booking
Cook to add videos to online search
said it was important to book
through a cruise expert
wanted to see a Marks &
Spencer shop onboard
CRUISE Thomas Cook will trial a new online video Jenny Ellis, head of cruise, said: “The
service that will offer customers a personalised developing channels are online. 41%
of onboard spend went on
excursions, 40% on drinks
recommendation based on their requirements. “We are trying out some content solutions to
The retailer said the main area of growth in get customers to think a little bit differently 34%
wanted to see rock or pop
concerts onboard
cruise retail was online, with 15% of total sales when they are looking for what they want.”
now booked through its website. The automated video service will compile a
Cook said it was pleased with the way it has one to two-minute compilation of clips of the clips chosen would not be influenced by commis-
consolidated its cruise market share, despite most appropriate cruises based on the search sion levels paid to Cook and would offer the
having 20% fewer shops on the high street. criteria stipulated by customers. Ellis said the customer a choice of two or three operators.
24 05.12.2008
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