Let’s talk market share and cruise lines | Travel Research Online


Let’s talk market share and cruise lines

When I had my brick and mortar agencies, every sales rep would live and breathe “market share” and during our monthly meetings, after all the niceties were finished, we discussed ways to move market share to our mutual benefits.  Of course, despite the beliefs of the travel suppliers, there is only so much that an agent can do. If a client wants to go to Jamaica, there is very little market share to be moved from Telluride.  But when it comes to a homogenous product, the agent is very much in charge.  Two weeks ago, I was reading the 2011 Travel Industry Survey by Travel Weekly and one set of charts really stood out for me!

The top suppliers used for cruise travel revealed some very interesting numbers that should make any cruise executive (or BDM) stand up and take notice.  Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Royal Caribbean:  Over three years, RCCL went from 32% in 2009, to 38% in 2010, and back down to 30% in 2011. I guess we can see what a new build/new class will do for your market share. But it should be noted that in all three years, Royal Caribbean remained the top supplier despite being the “also ran” in terms of fleet size.

Carnival:  Mickey Arison and Gerry Cahill should be looking at this disturbing trend. For three year’s running Carnival has seen a decrease in market share every year. Over three years, despite a new build/new class and being the largest fleet afloat, they have lost 8% of the market. What is the reason? Take your pick. Carnival is perceived as being less agent friendly than the other lines. The line is seen by the agency community as pushing direct sales. What do you think? Make no mistake, this is a serious drop.

Other Carnival Brands: Princess Cruises remained pretty consistent over the past three years. It is interesting to note that when Carnival bought Princess Cruises from P&O, they said that they would not tinker with the brand and keep it wholly separate from Carnival—and they have. The consistency seems to have paid off—or at least not cost them. Holland America Line lost 5%. Most of that I believe is related to…

Other:  …the all-encompassing “other” category. Other includes the wildly hot river cruising. River cruising is not a mass market, cheap product, and the river cruise client is very likely the Holland America Line client—an older demographic that is looking for something more and something unique.

Take a look at the pie charts for yourself. What other trends do you spot? What are your thoughts?


Source: Travel Weekly 2011 Travel Industry Survey


  One thought on “Let’s talk market share and cruise lines

  1. Charlie Funk says:

    It is even more dramatic if one considers the percentage drop for the line compared to itself rather than the total market. Carnvival dropped from 25 to 17%, a 32% drop. Even more precipitous is the change at Holland America from 11 to 6%, a whopping 45% drop. Also noteworthy – Norwegian gained from 4 to 5% or a 25% increase. Some might speculate that these changes are reflective of retailer perception of the degree of agent friendliness evinced by the respective lines, but I suspect the changes are far more complex than one simple metric.

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