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CRUISERS WANT A NEW EXPERIENCE
Cruise ships present unique opportunities to create unique guest experiences on board the vessel. This “experience design” begins with the design of the vessel itself, and includes the guest staterooms, public spaces, dining spaces, retail spaces, and recreational spaces. Design for optimal guest experience is paramount in all aspects of their cruising experience and extends beyond the architecture of the ship and into the experience of the guest in the specific space.
What Place Is “Better”? Land Or Sea?

There has been a movement in the cruise industry to recreate branded “shore-side” experiences on board the vessel. Some examples are the partnerships with Starbucks, Johnny Rockets, celebrity chefs, television reality shows, or Broadway book shows being presented on board the ship.

These tactics do create great buzz in the short term, gets press coverage and draws attention to the new build or retrofit projects. In the long term, from a strategic perspective, this approach doesn’t build on previous marketing efforts and positive guest experiences over time. Some pointed questions surface about this approach when you dig deeper into the psychology behind it:

Why is there an assumption that a “shore-side” experience is better than an experience on board your ship?

Why do you think that someone going on the vacation of a lifetime wants to have the same coffee (Starbucks for example) they can get a block from their house?

When your brand partnership ends, what have you really built with all of those years of effort?

There is a divergence here in the approach to the hundreds of millions spent on construction a one-of-a-kind space (the cruise ship) and to the content (non-architectural) placed inside the ship. It is simpler to “brand out” content versus creating a distinctive new brand.

Our approach is more strategic and long term and focused on building branded once-in-a-lifetime experiences that support and are part of the primary brand. Using the Starbucks example above, how would you create a new different brand? (Notice how we did not say “compete” but substituted “different”). There is no competition, the ship is not around the corner from the guest’s house, and we are seeking to create a wonderful experience that the guest can only have on board – something “special”.

Tomorrow’s Customer – Participant or Consumer?

Tomorrow’s customer is seeking to be part of something special, a participant in an exceptional story, part of an experience to be savored – not consumed. In this example, we would seek an amazing story behind why we want to bring this special coffee and this special experience to the world, and why it can only be enjoyed on board your cruise ships. The entire sensory experience would be crafted based on that story, something the guest that would enjoy, not just a simple cup of coffee. That is entertainment and something that can only be experienced as one of your guests (and not picked up in a drive-through on the way to work).

Our focus is to transform these on board spaces into branded, entertaining areas that generate revenue as well as thrill the guests with a special experience. Our concepts can utilize existing on board staffing and in some cases the same architecture. These concepts can be adjusted for guest demographics as well a to meld with current on board programming.

Interested in learning more about creating new revenue generating spaces on board from non or under-performing venues?

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