Showing posts with label Celebrity Cruises. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celebrity Cruises. Show all posts


Celebrity Cruises: Too Many Emails!

I've written a few times about Celebrity Cruises' spray & pray approach to email. In 2018, during the weeks leading to a cruise, I was bombarded with emails selling future cruises. The following month, I shared how they had emailed me again and again. Later in the year, I counted more than 200 marketing emails from them.

Celebrity Cruises
So many Celebrity Cruises emails,
so little time to read them

I thought this type of bombardment was a Fail for Targeting. Maybe I was wrong, because they still appear to be taking the approach -- hitting me with 19 emails within a week.

Between March 1 and March 3, Celebrity sent me 10 emails. Eight of them were upsells for my upcoming cruise -- drink package, specialty dining, professional photos, WiFi, etc. Perhaps they could have spaced these out at bit? Maybe? Please? One of the 10 emails was for a semi-annual sale; the other was for cruises to Alaska. If that isn't spammy, I don't know what is. 

None of these emails conveys emotion. How about at least one email that might convey excitement? Maybe open with, "We are very excited to have you abord the Celebrity XXX on XXX. Here are some things to know as you prepare to check in." Perhaps give a reminder to, you know, not forget your bathing suit. 

I can't simply ignore all these emails. One of them is germane to understanding what I need to do to check in and ensure a smooth embarkation process. So, that's one functional email and 200+ that are not useful. (There might be a second important email in the bunch, but I can't find it.) It's like that Beastie Boys song: They can't, they won't, and they don't stop

Maybe when it comes to future sales marketing and upsell, less isn't more in the cruise industry? I don't know! I do know that, by the time I arrive to check in for my Celebrity sea cruise, I'll already feel salty.

Direct marketing isn't only transactional. It's about building a relationship that improves the customer experience. 


Celebrity Cruises: Will 209 emails convince me to set sail?

In April, I wrote about Celebrity Cruises sending me an email once a day, on average. Every day is a new special – or, perhaps, the same special as yesterday that bears repeating! Nearly every email contains a limited time offer, so I’d better “Act Now!”

I received 207 209 emails since returning from a March cruise, making Celebrity’s near spam-like email solicitations a sad Fail for List.  (I started this morning with 207 emails but received 2 more in the past hour.)

Let’s recognize that going on a 3- to 14-night cruise to exclusive destinations (pardon me for absorbing their sales language) is not entirely an impulse purchase decision. If it were, then Celebrity would have offers that last a day or two rather than a week. But, hey, I’m not a cruise industry marketing expert.

Celebrity isn’t the only cruise line that continually hits homes with marketing communications. Every month for at least four years, I’ve received a mailer from Norwegian Cruise Lines. Every monthly mailer tours a destination and rotating offers such as on-board high-end dining, excursion credit, friends and family tag along for free, in-cabin Wi-Fi, or the opportunity to binge-drink at sea – also known as “unlimited open bar.”

The distinction between Norwegian’s and Celebrity’s marketing is that Norwegian’s printed and mailed offers include an aspirational flair: You want to be on the beach in the Caribbean or watching whales off the shore of Alaska. In contrast, Celebrity’s special-offer-of-the-day emails tend to be more transactional in nature. To be fair, maybe some of the emails strive for a more emotional resonance, but, even as a marketing professional, I’m not going to review all 200+ of them to find out.

Test the frequency of communications with your customers to learn what is the most responsive. Sometimes less is more.


Celebrity Cruises: My Ship Comes in Again… and Again… and Again…

In my previous post, I mentioned that I had planned to cruise on Celebrity Cruise Lines. At some point, when booking excursions, I must have opted in for marketing communications. I know this because, in addition to communications regarding the cruise, I received emails with limited-time deals for upcoming cruises. Many, many emails. In the month after the last day of my cruise, I received 37 emails from Celebrity. (That was yesterday.  As I post this blog, the count it now 39.)  That’s more than an email per day with a marketing offer to make the major travel purchase of a cruise.

In digging through these emails, however, I did receive two that addressed my recent cruise. One was a polite thanks for our sailing. It arrived five days after we disembarked. That’s timely. 

The next relevant email arrived two days later with the subject line of, “Marc, Thank you for sailing with us.” As a quick proofreading note: I would not have capitalized “Thank you” when preceded by a comma, but at least the messaging was relevant to my experience – with a timely call to action to book another cruise. Disney is effective using similar techniques when reaching out to their customers after a trip to The Magic Kingdom.

What Disney may not do is spam the crap out of their customers. I have too many emails to display here, with subject lines like, “Last Day – Do NOT miss these low fares to Alaska.” (March 26); “Now ending: Savings for all, plus TWO free perks” (April 2); “Exciting Deals is coming to an end. Last day tomorrow.” (April 8) “Just arrived! Just arrived! New offer to Alaska gets 50% off.” (April 9). I received two emails on the same day: “Marc, it’s Funday Sunday, perfect for booking an Exciting Deals getaway.” (April 22, 10:15 am) and “Traveler, it’s Funday Sunday, perfect for booking an Exciting Deals getaway. (April 22, 10:27 am).

It appears to me that Celebrity’s Marketing Department uses the criteria to send promotional emails only on days ending in “y” – and that’s a Fail for Timing for sending too many emails too often. They become meaningless in the continued clutter of communications. It may also be that there are several marketing lists floating inside the Celebrity organization and they don’t relate them to the customer experience. If that is the case, and they are using a Spray and Pray method of marketing, that’s a Fail for List.

Know your customers. Communicate to them sparingly and with relevance – addressing them in the context of your customer relationship.


Celebrity Cruises: A Ship Came In, But It Wasn’t Mine

My wife and I are looking forward to a cruise with Celebrity in a few weeks on a ship sailing to a few locations in the Caribbean. Like any good marketing machine, Celebrity is sending us frequent reminders of our upcoming vacation while providing us with add-on solicitations: beverage packages, gourmet dining, and excursions. Until recently, these emails appeared to me to be well targeted (and enticing, but I digress). However, this email for One-of-a-Kind Modern Luxury Adventures misses the mark.

Celebrity Discovery Collection

Celebrity Discovery Collection

Celebrity Discovery Collection

The email visually represents a few exclusive opportunity excursions in Europe. As much as I’d like to go to Europe, I’m not. Perhaps the email was intended as a general sales communication of their new Celebrity Discovery Collection excursions. Perhaps the targeted population was everyone in their email communications list. If so, then the reference to “HERE’S A SAMPLE OF WONDERFUL EXCURSIONS FOR YOUR NEXT VACATION” is too assumptive, because my next vacation – and that of many other customers receiving the email – won’t be to Europe. 

If this email had been targeted as intended – a broad audience – then the headline should have read “HERE’S A SAMPLE OF WONDERFUL EXCURSIONS WITH CELEBRITY” or simply “HERE’S A SAMPLE OF WONDERFUL EXCURSIONS.” This merits a minor Fail for Creative, because the messaging is not aligned with the target audience. If the email had been targeted at upcoming European cruise customers, then it merits a more substantial Fail for Targeting, because it was sent to people not planning to sail to Europe.

It appears to me that Celebrity does not fully manage their customer communications.  Some emails are properly targeted and personalized, while others seem to have a Spray & Pray approach.  Specifically, they send the same communication to every email address they have.  Such emails fail at building and maintaining customer relationships.

Consider the best use of your small data, that is, the collection of information already available that can be used simply and effectively.

In the meantime, below is an example of a well-targeted upsell email complete with personalization and relevant visuals of available excursion opportunities. No Fails here.