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.
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.
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