The vital strategy in the cruise line industry: ‘Segmentation and selection’

With an estimation of 24.1 million cruise ship passengers by 2018 it is very difficult to meet the wishes of every passenger without knowing anything of them (Cruise Market Watch, 2014). A good approach for such a large industry to attract and keep customers is by segmentation and selection.  Studies of Marti (1991) even stated that segmentation is the vital strategy in the cruise industry in order to increase the market share.

In general a market can be categorized on endless different ways; based on age, income or even based on a favourite movie. In order to make a good and useful segmentation a guideline of the segmentation process is written by Kotler and Keller (2008). The segments have to be measurable, substantial, accessible, differentiable and actionable. With segmenting it is important that every customer is placed in only one group whereby there is no overlap in the different segmentation groups.

When profiling a segment both internal and external sources can supply data to make the segment more specific (Peelen & Beltman, 2013).  Specification will eventually improve the client’s satisfaction as there are really focussed on their wishes. Mr. Cana-Lopez, chief of data communications (2016) once said: ‘knowing your customers inside out has always been vital to success in business’ hereby it does not matter if an industry is dealing with only a few customers or with hundreds or thousands of them, like the cruise industry.  Moreover, facts like household profile and the social class are also surveys of an enormous help as the company really gets to know how the client feels, what the client wants and what his/her buying behaviour is (Peelen & Beltman, 2013).

In the cruise industry the typical used segments are: singles, seniors, disabled, family and romantic & honeymoon cruises (Bhadauria et al., 2014). Research showed that for passengers on a family cruise and for passengers on a romantic cruise, dining is the most important attribute during their trip.  However for seniors on the other hand are the cabins and the service more important. In order  to strive for a more precise segmentation within these groups, the cruise industry often looks at criteria like loyalty, price sensitiveness and the perception of the cruise line’s reputation (Bhadauria et al., 2014).

The goal of segmentation is to approach each homogeneous customer group in the exact way that they would like to be  approached. When a company anticipates on the feelings or needs and wants of a certain customer group this leads eventually to more satisfaction whereby the customer often becomes loyal and are willing to spend more money with this specific company in the future (Peelen & Beltman, 2013).






Bhadauria, A. , Bhatnagar, A. , Ghose, S. , (2014). Demographic segmentation of the cruise industry. Global Journals of Management and Business Research: E-Marketing. Retrieved on September 28, 2016 from

Cruise Market Watch (2014). Market share. Cruise Market Watch. Retrieved on September 28, 2016  from

Kotler, P. and Keller, K. (2008). Marketing Management, 13th edn, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Marti, B. E. (1991). Cruise ship market segmentation: a ‘non-traditional’port case study. Maritime Policy & Management, 18(2), 93-103.

Matthews, D. (2016). How connected data is targeting consumers. Raconteur. Retrieved on September 27, 2016 from

Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Harlow, England: Pearson.




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