Free air a 'runaway success,' NCL's Stuart says

A '100% strategic initiative' that fueled 'tremendous growth in web traffic and increased the price,' Andy Stuart said A '100% strategic initiative' that fueled 'tremendous growth in web traffic and increased the price,' Andy Stuart said

Norwegian Cruise Line's addition of free air to its 'Free at Sea' bundled pricing promotion has been a 'runaway success,' according to president and CEO Andy Stuart.

Long-haul guests spend more on board, too

Adding air gives travel agents a higher commission incentive and attracts more long-haul customers, the 'highest quality guests' in that they spend more on the ticket and on board compared to the short-haul drive market, according to Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

The offer was tested with some Norwegian Joy cruises from the US in 2019—the ship will be redeployed from China—to 'great success' before rolling out the offer to additional itineraries.

Not only did bookings increase, so did pricing, Stuart told analysts during the company's third quarter earnings call. Responding to investor concerns that the promotion indicated soft demand, Stuart called it a '100% strategic initiative' that fueled 'tremendous growth in web traffic and increased the price.'

The offer will likely be further expanded.

A great differentiator

Del Rio called the 'Free at Sea' promotion a great differentiator and took credit for bringing the go-to-market price bundling strategy that's proved so successful at Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises to the Norwegian brand.

Posted 08 November 2018

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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