Luxury cruises have also begun marketing to the affluent gay customer. Cruise agents take the time to call gay clients and, when possible, take them to lunch or send them notes. Communication is the key.
The agents inform potential gay customers of enrichment cruises, where entertainment and education are combined to provide a rewarding experience. Theme cruises for gay couples or families are scheduled on a regular basis. A typical theme cruise is one that caters to lesbian mothers and their children. Another theme cruise is for gay partners only, and features commitment ceremonies.
According to Gregg Michel of Crystal Cruises, enthusiasm is important. “People get interested when you talk to them. They get enthusiastic because you’re enthusiastic.” Which reiterates and emphasizes the idea that enthusiasm is contagious. Michel added, “the idea of splurge may be gone. People are looking for experiences.” So the best way to sell luxury cruises is to stress value, choice, adventure, and exclusivity.
Travel Agent advises cruise agents to stay in touch with former customers, because it is easier to convince them to sail again. Statistics show that 66% of those who cruised will cruise again within 18 months.
Gay clients perceive luxury cruises as an extension of their normal lifestyle. Which means that luxury cruise lines need to constantly invest in upgrades to protect their brand integrity. Affluent gay customers expect perks and outstanding service. An adventure to be remembered is what the affluent client is seeking.
From this it becomes evident that the affluent gay customer cannot be marketed to like any other affluent customer. Their unique needs must be targeted with distinct experiences designed for them.
Marketing targeted to affluent same-sex customers involves:
Supporting gay community causes and events.
Advertising in gay publications.
Having an online presence.
Packaging luxury goods as part of a total lifestyle.
Continually searching for ways to upgrade services and products.
Providing unique and memorable experiences.