Edie Rodriguez, CEO of Crystal Cruises, spoke today at the Skift Global Forum.

Rodriguez has presided over Crystal’s evolution into a global luxury lifestyle brand. The introduction of three new ships on order, super-luxury residences on board, the debut of yacht cruising, and the purchase of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner with lie-flat seats are aimed at reshaping the value proposition of the cruise line.
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Rodriguez’ talk “Reinventing Cruises Through Exclusivity and Customization” explored how the cruise experience is changing to meet the needs of luxury customers. Here are five things we learned:

  • While serving 22.1 million passengers a year on 411 ships, the cruise industry is still in the infancy of its development.
  • Cruisers come from all market segments and locations around the world. “The cruise industry should not get shoved into one market segment,” said Rodriguez.
  • In the luxury market, 11 percent of sales come from online and mobile channels. Understanding a luxury traveler comes down to being aware of changing needs and expectations; travel agents book 96 percent of Crystal’s cruises right now.
  • Crystal Cruises has bucked the cruise industry trend of relying on the schedule of shipyards by purchasing a shipyard to solely build its vessels. “The shipyards out there were not giving us the delivery dates we wanted, so our chairman bought the shipyard,” said Rodriguez.
  • Luxury is all about personalization. Every member of a luxury company needs to understand the brand’s ethos and deliver that experience.

Keep track of all the activity at this year’s Global Forum by bookmarking our #skiftforum tag.

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And thanks to all the sponsors that made Skift Global Forum 2015 possible: Adobe, Amadeus, American Express, Boxever, Big Bus Tours, CendyneOne, Cheapoair, Criteo, Gogo, HelloGbye, Hornblower Cruises, MasterCard, Mindtree, National Geographic, NewsCred, Sabre, SiteMinder, Travel Channel, TurkeyHome, Uber, Underline, Virtuoso, and Yahoo.

Photo Credit: Edie Rodriguez speaking at Skift Global Forum in Brooklyn, New York, on October 15, 2015. Skift