Princess Cruises is stepping up marketing activity in the UK to take on cruiselines that have increased advertising during the economic downturn.
Speaking at last week’s launch of new ship Ruby Princess, head of brand marketing Pieter van der Schee said Princess is increasing its print and online advertising and backing it up with direct mailing and newspaper inserts.
He said: “We had a good response to our brochure launch in April and are on track with 2009 sales, but other brands are upping the ante with more marketing so we are responding.”
Van der Schee said Princess is also working with agents to stimulate demand, but not though price. “There is pressure on prices but we are finding sales depend on the level of marketing. A lot of people still want to book a cruise we are just having to work harder to win the business.”
He said last week’s 1.5% interest rate cut in the UK and lower petrol prices might help consumers feel less anxious about the economic situation.
Princess took 14 of its best-selling UK agents to Ruby Princess’ naming ceremony, which was followed by a two-night cruise.
Van der Schee said: “Princess is the fourth best-selling cruiseline in the UK, but some agents are not familiar with the brand so it’s difficult to explain it to customers.
“It is hard to persuade people who are new to cruise that cruiselines and ships are different so we think it’s important that agents see and experience the product.”
Princess Cruises’ president and chief executive officer Alan Buckelew ruled out following Carnival’s lead and changing the line’s European deployment for 2009 as a result the economic downturn.
“I never say never, but if cruiselines start to pull out because the Americans are not travelling to Europe we will be last to go,” he promised.