Bye-bye To Last-Minute Deals?

News item: Royal Caribbean is attempting to refuse having last-minute discounts.

This could be a game-changer for all cruise lines. Lots of people hang around until the “last minute” before making a decision about which cruise to take. When they get a killer deal, they tell the world, including passengers who paid much more for the same type of cabin on the same cruise.

As one member posted on Cruise Critic after hearing the news:

“"You won't feel like an idiot for paying more for a similar cabin that gets discounted after final [payment date].”

This is likely to mean Royal Caribbean will lose some profits by sailing with ships that are less than full. The cruise line’s thought process is all about brand perception. If the Allure of the Seasperception is that you have cheap prices, it can be said you’re a cheap cruise line. If you’re not, the “price integrity” over the long haul will recover financial losses.

Royal Caribbean will now effectively close sales 10, 20 or 30 days before sailing, depending on the length of the cruise. The abolition of last-minute discounts now applies on all cruises longer than four days. The question is…will other cruise lines follow?

“We think that getting our customers out of this used-car salesman kind of mentality will be overall good for the brand, good for their experience,” company CEO Richard Fain said on a conference call.

And what will the last-minute crowd think?

They’ll get over it and accept it, just like we all accept having to pay for soft drinks on ships, having to pay for luggage on airplanes, and other such examples of policies not being the way they were.

When you’re a cruise company with profits of $45.2 in the first quarter, up 70 per cent from 2014’s first quarter, it’s a chance you can afford to take. While it's a lot more complicated than this, is it just coincidence that Royal Caribbean shares on the New York Stock Exchange plunged eight per cent the day after this news became public, the same day its greatest new ship was being launched half the world away?

Today at portsandbows.com: Eating on Anthem of the Seas

Holland America Amsterdam
1 night
May 30, 2015
Vancouver, Seattle
Inside: $69
Cost per day: $69
www.hollandamerica.com

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