Carnival cuts prices to boost early bookings

Carnival cuts prices to boost early bookings

Price cuts and launching programmes early has helped secure sales for Carnival UK's brands this year despite a late booking trend.

The group has cut 2009 prices in the last two months by 5%-10% to stimulate demand during the recession. Year-on-year sales are currently 25%-35% up.

Chief executive David Dingle said: "Our research showed people still intended to cruise but were going to leave it later to book. We did not want to sit back and wait so we became more proactive.

"This meant increasing our products' visibility in the marketplace and launching promotional pricing earlier than we would normally do."

He maintained there had yet to be any impact of price cuts on individual brands but added: "We can absorb price reductions. Right now, the cruise industry is playing a good hand of cards."

So far, 85% of overall capacity is sold for this year. Dingle added: "Fortunately our strategy of launching programmes early ensured we had banked a large proportion of sales for 2008 departures well in advance. The same has applied for 2009, although there was a definite softening in the wake of the banking crisis late in 2008."

The group relied on past passengers to generate sales, particularly for longer, more expensive cruises. Lower priced cruises on Ocean Village and P&O Cruises' Oceana ships enjoyed strong demand from first-time passengers, the report showed.




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