Dear Mr. Berra,
Thank you for reaching out to our agency to develop a new campaign that shall promote cruises out of the Port of Baltimore. The Royal Caribbean needs a new spin in order to battle the cruising misconceptions and myths to successfully advertise the port.
Initial Reaction and Problems
I did some research based on your website, brochures, and TV commercials to get an idea of your company brand and values. Based on the pictures and advertisements, the primary target audiences felt like families followed by couples and working professionals. You seem to have pretty good deals but most of them are valid for winter only. While browsing through the cruise deals, Florida seems to be the featured port as most of the ships depart from there. This backfires and affects the business of other ports. Why should people choose Baltimore as their departing destination? This is a great question because according to WorldAtlas, Baltimore is the 19th most dangerous city in the world which makes it more popular for crime rates rather than tourist attractions. We need to mainly focus on this problem and try to get more tourists to spend time in Baltimore. The second problem is the port itself as there is nothing attractive about it and needs a major upgrade. You seem to have a mobile app which seems pretty mediocre compared to the website. Redeveloping this app is a must as people are very tech savvy these days. I see that you even have a reward points system which is great as people get encouraged to spend more money in the cruise but we have to remember that it’s not really helping people to select a certain port. Your social media pages seem very informative but we need to uplift the interactive part. Using my strategic thinking skills, I present to you my game plan on revamping your current promotional methods and adding some new ones.
Let’s start off by looking at the above demographics posted by Cruise Market Watch to get a general idea of market outreach for the cruise industries. It looks like cruises are mostly popular among people who are 40+ and have an income ranging from $100k to $200k. Just like the others, your company has been targeting the same group of people .We will keep this current group on a loop as they have the time and plenty of money to invest in the cruises. However, it’s time to shift gears so we should focus on attracting the millennials as these young people battle between their ideal vacation and economic restriction. Spring Break would be the perfect time to encourage this group of people to go out on a cruise. Royal Caribbean being the second largest cruise company should step up and change the deal packages. We should lean towards a more modern approach of advertisement. Instead of mainly focusing on winter discounts like your competitors, you need to bring in new deals for Spring and Summer as well. These special deals should always mention Baltimore as the starting point making Maryland customers reconsider selecting any other ports.
Revamping the Port of Baltimore
When you walk around the port of baltimore, you see ships every now and then but nothing really screams “Cruises.” Your company should step up the game and open up an attraction area past the National Aquarium or close to your departing area. The room will look like the lobby area of one of the ships and be equipped with 12 motion tracking VRs. People can go in there and literally get a feel of the cruise through those VR devices. They should be able to “walk around the ship” and the ocean sound effects shall add on to the selling point.I would price the ticket at $10 each with each VR tour lasting for about 7 minutes and visitors who book a cruise within 3 days shall receive a 15% discount on the total. There should be a photobooth with props that have “ #RCCBaltimore” labeled on them. This will make the Port of Baltimore more appealing and attract a lot of people.
Upgrade MyCruise Rewards and The Phone App
Combing reward points with an upgraded phone app can do wonders for your company. Currently there are a lot of complains on the comment section of the app saying that it isn’t resourceful enough and the fact that you can’t book through it is very frustrating. As I mentioned before, compared to your website, your app seems a little dull and really needs some fresh upgrades. I recommend using a new vendor like Dom and Tom or Prismetric as their works are more modern and user friendly. The app should have a choice called “Rewards Baltimore” that will tie in with MyCruise Rewards. Here’s how it will work: We will partner with local restaurants and tourist attractions around Downtown Baltimore to create a point system. Each time a customer spends more than $30, 12 points will be added to their rewards section on the app. Once they have 80 points, they are eligible for a free meal or anything else of your choice. This will not only encourage people to travel around Baltimore, but even promote Royal Caribbean as now the will be using the app more often and be informed of all the deals they can get. Some of the places you can partner with are Pratt Street Ale House, SoBo Cafe, Sullivan’s Steakhoue, Hardrock Cafe, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood, National Aquarium, Camden Yards, and Baltimore Zoo to name a few. I highly recommend enabling the booking feature to the app so that people can easily make reservations through their phones.
I prefer Instagram and Twitter more effective than Facebook when it comes to promotion. Your social media accounts don’t need a drastic change but it needs to be more pers-onable. More than just featuring the cruise, you need to start featuring the customers and have short videos of them talking about the whole experience. We should encourage people to caption their photos using #RCCBaltimore. This hashtag can be tied in with the previous idea of visiting Baltimore and promoting the port as well. If a customer takes a picture / selfie in at least eight famous places in the city and tags Royal Caribbean, they are eligible to be entered in a lucky draw that features a handsome prize. These prizes won’t be valid unless they ride in through the port of Baltimore. The posts featuring experiences should be mostly active during winter so people can teleport their minds into a vacation state and start investing on making reservations for spring and summer. However, the posts featuring the deals should be run all year long. Your company should reach out to famous people from Maryland like Michael Phelps, Joel and Benji Madden, Ben Stein, Jim Henson, Josh Charles, Christina Milian and Spike Jonze to be your brand ambassadors or ask them to be featured in a post that promotes the port of Baltimore. Bringing in these famous people will be more attractive to younger demographics as they grew up watching them on TV and now they are promoting a cruise that has a head turning deal.
I would like to start implementing these plans starting mid-December so we can boost the Spring and Summer sales. Feel free to ask me any questions or request any changes. Hope to hear from you soon.
Public Relations Specialist