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Cruise travelling is very specific to be promoted. Cruises are normally classified as premium class services, provided that they hold a special place among goods and services of this price bracket if only because they are also related to tourism services. However, one should use promotion channels that are relevant for the very luxury goods. Please read more on promotion of cruise travels in the RMAA Group article.
Luxury goods such as expensive cars, watches, jewelry, clothes, and banking products are already spread enough in Russia and well-known to consumers of goods of this price bracket. As opposed to them, premium class services in general and cruise travels in particular are less widespread in Russia and mainly known only to the audience that intentionally looks for these services.
Nevertheless, the philosophy and certain promotion ways of luxury services are goods are common. Luxury goods and services should be clearly separated from non-exclusive goods and services not only from the point of an advertisement message, but also from the perspective of the advertising form and advertisement dissemination channels. That is why, for example, the most large-scale media such as TV and radio are not used for promotion of such services, while printed materials should be chosen very deliberately.
It is worth remembering that the key feature of luxury goods and services is their exclusiveness – this is what the consumers want to get, having thereby confirmed their status and ambitions. The main thing in luxury goods promotion is an interesting, pretty emotional, creative approach driving at individual recognition, a strong ideology, but the absence of direct and haunting appeals, as well as dosed media placement. In this case, too much advertising is inappropriate. A haunting and massive advertising campaign may have the reverse effect on consumers of luxury services.
Non-intrusive advertising of high quality at points of sales, moderate image support in glossy magazines, and creative PR up to total discreetness may be a limited, but well-considered range of promotion.
Advertising and luxury promotion features in Russia
It is worth noting that luxury goods and services are perceived in Russia in a peculiar way. For historical reasons, luxury goods appeared in Russia only in 90s along with the arrival of market economy, and catchphrase such as ‘lux’, ‘elite’, ‘exclusive’, and ‘VIP’ in Russia may be related to any goods and services of an above-average price. That is why these titles are much depreciated in former Soviet countries, while real luxury goods and services are never accompanied by these names because brands and places of their promotion speak for themselves.
From the point of geography, most VIP clients live in Moscow. The second place is taken by northern cities, centers of oil-mining regions: Surgut, Khanty-Mansyisk, and Novy Urengoy. Next are big cities with a million-plus population: Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and others. Luxury goods and services consumers are businesspeople and civil servants, top managers of big companies, famous sportsmen, cinema and show business celebrities.
Due to the fact that luxury services should be promoted through channels that differ from ones typical for mass products, the list of these channels is pretty limited. This also relates to advertising of cruise travels, the advertising opportunities for which can be widened only because cruise travels belong to tourism trips. The advertising opportunities for cruise travels include advertisements in glossy magazines, publication of special catalogues, cooperation with tourism agencies, digital marketing, personal approach to customers, outdoor ads, sponsorship, organization of or participation in special events. Now let us discuss every channel one by one.
Involvement with mass media
As a rule, radio, TV, and mass printed materials are not used for advertising of luxury goods and services. Such goods always pretend to be exclusive, so their advertising cannot be too widespread.
The advertisements are usually placed in glossy magazines such as GQ, Esquire, Fashion, Cosmopolitan, Elle and others, as well as in special publications for people with high income, for example, Luxury Club or Yachting. One should also hold PR activities with such media, providing them with newsworthy events and organizing press conferences.
Although outdoor ads are widely used for mass consumer goods, it is also a good decision for promotion of luxury goods and services. However, it is highly desirable for outdoor advertising of cruise travels to stand out from other billboard by its big sizes or creative decisions.
Publication of special catalogues and cooperation with tourism agencies
Cruise travels are usually sold not only directly, but also through tourism agencies, so one cannot do without cooperation with them. You should provide them with as much information about your cruises as possible. Besides, it makes sense to publish special catalogues with detailed information on your cruises and spread them in tourism agencies.
Digital marketing is an effective tool for promotion of cruise travels, too. Digital marketing has wide opportunities for audience targeting, and it is important for work with VIP audience. Gender, age, location, behavior factors – you can effectively work with your target audience on the basis of this information. It is also worth using search engine advertising by narrowing keywords.
Personal approach to customers
As we talk about a luxury segment, it is very important to create a feeling of chosenness and significance for a customer. For an elite product, an invisible penetration is considered best when every representative of target audience receives the information almost personally, via exclusive communication channels. The main task here is to make them buy a brand not thanks to advertising, but in spite of its absence.
The individual approach means exclusive care about the customer, but not constant spamming of ads to his or her e-mail, and it is desirable to ask for his or her contact information when contacting him or her for the first time only after he or she has already approached you. Therefore, not only will you collect a database of customers that you need, but you will also manage to learn their preferences. In this case, your manager’s call with an interesting offer will not only fail to irritate him or her, but will also be seen as care.
Sponsorship of events
We have already written an article on sponsorship of events. It is worth noting that for promotion of cruise travels it is better to choose such events, which sponsorship will associate your brand and your offer with wealth and high status. For instance, it may be sponsorship of sailing races.
Organization of special events
An event, as a rule, is a social function, a presentation, a standing buffet or something alike where your current and potential clients, entrepreneurship and media personnel are invited. The event’s reason is not really important — it can be the company’s birthday, launch of a new cruise route, the company’s anniversary in the market and so on. What matters is that at the event you will be able to interact with your customer purposefully and demonstrate luxury class philosophy — corps d’elite, elaborate food, short but creative entertainment. Everything should be very simple and not long — high class members do not have time for many-hours-long entertainments.
Events can be classified as follows:
Luxury services and cruise travels in particular need thoroughly chosen advertising channels that refrain from mass character. It may be advertising in some mass media, peculiar outdoor ads, publication of special catalogues, selective use of digital marketing tools, sponsorships, organization of special image-building events, or participation in such events. RMAA Group team will help you choose an optimal combination of advertising channels and build an advertising campaign of cruise travels for Russian audience.
About the Author
Digital Strategist. Head of one of the project groups at RMAA. Maria started her journey in digital marketing in 2009.