'Value for money’ message is key in overcoming cruise customers’ concerns

Getting the message across that cruise is “fantastic value for money” is key to overcoming potential passengers’ fears about cost, Ace’s Columbus Day heard.

Frank Barrett, travel editor with the Mail newspapers, said that the biggest hurdle to potential cruisers was that cruises are too expensive, despite 92% of cruise customers feeling that they gave a lot of bang for their buck.

“The single biggest issue for readers at the moment is price,” said Barrett. “A major gripe that readers have is that if they book early, they will miss out on special offers that come along.

“But when 92% think cruise is fantastic value for money, how is that message getting across to people who haven’t cruised?”

Commenting on the “knowledge gap” between people’s perceptions of cruising and the actual experience, Barrett said that another problem potential customers had was being on the ship itself.

“I would say that the ship is the most positive part of going on a cruise holiday but a lot of people see that as a negative,” he said, to the point where an image of a ship on a cruise advert was seen as putting people off.

“It’s a truth universally acknowledged that the only way to know if you like a cruise is to go on one,” said Barrett, who has been on 50 cruises.

“A lot of perceptions don’t endure once you have spent 30 minutes on board. You don’t feel you’re hemmed in. There’s a feeling of space.”

Helping people understand the value for money that cruise delivers was an important way of challenging people’s negative perceptions.

“We also need to reassure customers they won’t miss out on offers if they book early,” Barrett added. “People often ask me: what’s to like about cruising. That’s easy: what’s not to like?”

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