This week Celebrity Cruise Line announced a new brand campaign they are launching: “Modern Luxury Lives Here”. In short, they are launching a sixty second TV spot named “Marco Polo” which will be followed by three more spots later in the month. Also they will be “spending more than ever on TV and will enjoy more coverage in major markets….” and will be targeting the Travel Channel, HGTV, and other popular networks. They will also increase their spend in national print publications and in digital marketing.
So why should travel professionals care? Cruise lines share their overall marketing materials and strategies with their travel partners (us) for a reason. We are not just a booking channel for them; we are a marketing channel as well. Many travel professionals squawk and complain about cruise lines trying to “snipe” their clients. In all honestly, our clients are their clients as well. They have every right to market to them, and they will do just that. Some suppliers are more aggressive about this practice, while others truly try to partner with us in the endeavor. As an example: when I went to see Star Wars, there was a particular all-inclusive resort company that advertised right before the trailers started. Their contact information was large and prominent on the screen; you could barely read “or contact your travel agent.” The voice-over never mentioned contacting your travel agent at all. With this new Celebrity branding campaign, the “Marco Polo” ad has “call Celebrity or your travel agent” on the same line, in the same size font. The voice-over does not mention calling anyone (Celebrity or a travel agent), it simply promotes the “modern luxury here” tag line and the potential savings with their best promotion ever offered.
If you want your clients to return to you to book, if you want them to think of you first when they see any type of supplier ad, you need to stay in front of them. Yes, Celebrity is launching a new marketing campaign and I imagine our clients will be seeing it everywhere, including on TV, in magazines, and online. How can we take advantage of that? Celebrity has given us the tools we need, including the “Marco Polo” ad (video) that we can share on our own websites and our social media sites. They have also provided quite a few banner ads which also can be placed on websites and used in social media.
But don’t stop there. Take the next step and reach out to your database of clients. Be proactive. Email them individually or include this in your next regularly scheduled newsletter that you send to all of your clients. Share the video with them. Tell them about the great destinations they can visit and the great value that they can get when booking a Celebrity cruise through you.
If we passively sit back and assume the phone will simply ring because some supplier said “or call your travel agent,” we’ll be out of business before you can say “Marco Polo”. If a travel professional loses a client to a supplier or another travel professional, they have no one to blame but themselves.
Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel located in Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations, she focuses on travel for 18 to 23-year-olds. Susan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (888) 221-1209.