Celebrity CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo explains strength of retail/supplier partnerships
Top-ranked cruise seller Expedia CruiseShipCenters recently received press for its strong retail-supplier partnerships and ability to attract new-to-cruise customers, as highlighted “Cruise Week” newsletter.
Celebrity Cruises CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, who strongly believes that the cruise industry has ignored appealing to new-to-cruise customers for too long, uses blunt language when explaining the repercussions: “As an industry, we’re not talking enough about ways to attract new-to-cruise. That’s why we’re all in the mud talking promotions.”
All of which helps to explain her elation after meeting with Expedia CruiseShipCenters leaders this summer and hearing their priorities.
“My brain was churning about their efforts on first-timers,” she says. “They are all about new-to-cruise. A big goal of my strategy is to get more new-to-cruise. Everybody they bring into the business is about new-to-cruise.”
It’s only natural that business partnerships tighten and grow when the retail side and the supplier side have aligned business philosophies.
“We need to figure out a way to work with [Expedia CruiseShipCenters] more because they are bringing people to that category,” Lisa says.
Expedia CruiseShipCenters launched in 1987 and is a top seller of cruise travel in North America. Our travel agency franchise is rapidly expanding, with nearly 200 locations open or under development. Our growth is driven by three overarching realities: our proven business model is affordable to start and extremely scalable, our focus on cruise vacations makes us a trusted resource among cruise customers who overwhelmingly prefer to book with a travel agent, and the cruise industry is growing quickly.
Targeting the right audience through marketing strategies
Lisa emphasizes the important takeaways from each of her visits to agency groups this summer. She describes Expedia CruiseShipCenters as “amazing” in segmentation and targeting, both of which tie in neatly with the new-to-cruise focus. And she cited our hiring of new-to-cruise agents as helping to reach new-to-cruise consumers.
After all, the first-time cruiser issue extends beyond supplier/retail efforts and into every aspect of the business.
“I don’t think our industry does a good job with our traditional marketing dollars in areas that fundamentally change our business,” Lisa says. “Consumers don’t believe pamphlets — they believe other people.”
And that’s where Expedia CruiseShipCenters shines. Our franchise owners’ teams of Vacation Consultants are trained to provide that personal touch and the expertise to navigate the complexities of cruise bookings for new-to-cruisers and experienced vacationers alike.
Cruisers overwhelmingly prefer to book their vacations through a travel agent, and our Expedia CruiseShipCenters travel franchises are visible, brick-and-mortar, branded locations in the hearts of busy communities. The new-to-cruise demographic has no trouble finding us to book that first experience.