Cruise lines’ price pledge will help marketing

P&O Cruises and Cunard Line are introducing a price pledge in a bid to stabilise cruise pricing and to help deliver consistent marketing.

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The ‘Price Promise’ is designed to reassure holidaymakers who worry that booking from brochure prices early will leave them out of pocket if the two cruise companies then discount their offerings. Passengers booking the new Vantage Fares will receive a complimentary benefit or an upgrade to the value of any introduction in price.

Head of brand marketing Philip Price says that the company wants to change the cruise pricing model and a price promise will encourage people to book early.

He adds that maintaining the position of the cruise brands as a premium holiday “gives us better, more premium, marketing opportunities.”

The initiative will be supported by national print advertising and online activity. The company will also use its customer magazine and the database of the recently relaunched membership scheme, The Peninsular Club, to promote the price promise.

Price says that discounting has “been endemic” in the cruise industry for the last five years or more but there has been no sudden surge of price cuts to sell cruises following incidents such as the running aground of The Concordia earlier this year.

He expects other cruise operators to follow suit with a price pledge “in some form” but stresses P&O Cruises and Cunard will be “transparent and fair” in making restoration to Vantage Fare holidaymakers.

P&O Cruises and Cunard Line are both part of Carnival Group and the former celebrates its 175th anniversary this year.

Passenger Shipping Association figures say a record 1.7m Britons took a cruise in 2011, up 4 per cent on 2010, while CruiseBritain, an industry body that promotes Britain as a cruise destination brand, estimates cruise embarkations from the UK for 2012 show a rise of 17% year-on-year.

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