Deciding on the Right Channel Combination for Cruise Organisations to Increase the Positive Effect of Multi Channelling on Customer Engagement

Nowadays cruise organisations deal with a multitude of different channels via they can reach their potential customers and engage their loyal customers to their brand. Not only the number of channels but also the increasing effect of the digital- and social media arenas making managing multichannel management harder. New challenges arise 24/7 due to innovations within the channel environment.

Multichannel management is attracting a lot of attention nowadays and is rapidly developing. Each different channel used by the customer can be experienced in very different ways and the way they support the customer’s buying process is also dependent of the channel being used. However there should be a seamless customer experience throughout each channel within the total multichannel environment.

To guarantee this seamless experience it is important to decide on the optimal channel combination by deciding on the range of channels and on which channels to use during which touch points, on the degree of differentiation and on the controllability. By deciding on the range of channels and on which channels to use in which phase of the customer journey it is important to always keep the customer in mind. Factors which influence the preferences of these customers are: personality characteristics, situational factors, risk perceptions, intrinsic interest, trust, et cetera.

These preferences or needs and wants are different for each individual customer, so the question is to what degree is a cruise organisation willing to facilitate different service concepts and different channel combinations for different customers? Of course not every individual customer can be served in their preferences so the cruise company’s task is to seduce customers by making the channels they use more attractive so the customers are willing to make the shift.

Besides that, the cruise organisation has to handle the controllability to the extent that it is still reinforcing the customer experience, manageable in terms of costs and accessible in terms of performance. If accessibility or the quality of the customer experience is soaring, it may be best to limit the range of channels and the degree of differentiation. (Beltman & Peelen, 2013)

A cruise organization that is actively and continually working on their multichannel strategy is CruiseCo. To achieve profitability on every trip, CruiseCo’s management sought innovative ways to streamline the company’s entire marketing process. Equifax, a company that is specialized in tracking data modelling and data analysis, was invited to participate in the search for better ways to reach the most likely buyers with timely and attractive offers.

First, they analysed the customers database and made a segmentation based on personality characteristics, situational factors and intrinsic interests. As a result CruiseCo created well thought-trough customer profiles. Not all customers are equal, so CruiseCo uses the segmentation to decide on the multichannel mix. Now they know exactly for which customer, which approach works the best.

The results for CruiseCo after implementing the system are accessibility to customer data 24/7, clear segmentation in customer categories, the customers gains a personalized approach and finally due to better processes and better target marketing CruiseCo fills more cabins. To conclude, this shows that implementing multichannel management in the right way can have a positive effect on an entire cruise organisation. (Equifax, 2008)

Resources:
Beltman, R., & Peelen, E. (2013). Customer Relationship Management (2nd ed.). Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.

Equifax. (2008). Case Study: How can a cruise line book more passengers? Data experts from Equifax launch a creative solution. Retrieved from http://www.equifax.com/pdfs/corp/EFS-839-ADV_CruiseCo_CS.pdf

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