Campaign: P&O goes digital
Client: P&O Cruises
Agency: Enterprise Marketing
Over the past few years, travel and tourism in Australia has been hit hard. Theglobal financial crisis made consumers nervous and discretionary spending on holidays dropped. In this slow tourism market, cruising has proved to be the standout success story. With the Australian industry targeting one million passengers by 2020, forecasts indicate the sector will contribute more than $3 billion annually to the national economy within 10 years.
Australia’s leading cruise company is P&O Cruises, one of seven brands that make up Carnival Australia’s roster of cruise companies (the others being Princess Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises World Cruising, Seabourn, Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line). In Australia, P&O Cruises operates four ships with the Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Sun departing from major ports across the country.
Relaunching in late 2010, the brand positioned itself as a great value holiday for everyday Aussies who like to have fun. The launch included TVCs aimed at a younger target audience, presenting them in a fun, carefree environment. Looking to leverage its new positioning, P&O Cruises continued to seek additional avenues to connect with consumers and increase engagement with both the brand and its products.
Already utilising TV, radio, direct mail, digital (including email newsletters and Facebook), print advertising and trade event shows, the company saw an opportunity to be at the leading edge in the digital publishing space. The uptake of Apple’s iPad provided the company with a new way to reach consumers using the best and most current technology available.
Enterprise Marketing, which has had 10 years’ experience working on the brand across various marketing initiatives, was engaged to create and execute an iPad digital publication app.
The objective was to provide consumers with a more in-depth way of interacting with the brand. The company needed consumers to fully realise the cruising experience as much as possible from the comfort of their home, while on the run or even at a travel agent. P&O Cruises wanted to make the journey from thought to purchase as seamless as possible.
The new app strengthens brand perception and its product offering, and showcases a visual depth of imagery in one medium. The P&O Cruises website has a wealth of information, but, with the iPad’s ease of use, all information is at the touch of a finger. Holidaymakers can easily make an informed decision by viewing many aspects of life on board.
Jenny Lourey, senior vice president of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, says the app was developed as part of the cruise line’s drive to find new ways to reach travel agents and consumers, and highlight some of the great experiences and level of service available on board its ships.
“Cruising in Australia is a dynamic industry that is growing at almost 20 percent a year, so we were keen to find new and exciting ways to reach past and future passengers,” Lourey says.
By translating the P&O Cruises product brochure into an interactive iPad app, the brand would reach a more tech savvy, time-poor generation and increase P&O Cruises’ reach to a wider audience.
With existing travel and tourism apps already in the iTunes store, P&O Cruises needed to develop an application that would be far more comprehensive, and showcase its entire product offering to the Australian and New Zealand markets.
The app is first and foremost a consumer engagement tool. It is also carried by P&O Cruises’ sales force to help strengthen and improve agent knowledge of the product. It is a great way to create excitement and quickly engage agents about new ship features, facilities and cruises.
Enterprise Marketing, with the assistance of its online arm Fuse Digital, chose to develop the app using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. Enterprise CEO, Joe Cristaudo, says, “We’ve been working with the beta versions of the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite for some time, and as Apple developers we were excited about being involved in a major Australian app promoting a tourism product. This will be a ‘must have’ distribution channel, not only for tourism operators, but any industry that wishes to promote richer product information to a wider audience.”
With the phrase, ‘content is king’ dominant in the digital space, the P&O Cruises app was launched, stacked full of information. Released on 1 June 2011, the digital publication features the entire version of the P&O Cruises holiday print catalogue, in both portrait and landscape views, with more than 100 pages of information. It includes stunning 360-degree views, videos, zoom functionality, interactive deck plans and vivid photo galleries. Consumers can check a cabin category and view its exact location on board, as well as room layouts and amenities.
The app is one of the most extensive digital publications in the entire travel/tourism space and is available free of charge in the Australian and New Zealand iTunes stores. Backed by P&O Cruises’ website and through tactical email newsletters, the communication went out to audiences who preferred online correspondence and could acquire the app without effort. It allows users to connect directly to the main P&O Cruises website, providing another avenue for online bookings. It also features a handy ‘How to Book’ pop-up on every cruise featured, directing consumers to travel agents should that be their preferred booking option.
Additionally, consumers requesting the P&O Cruises holiday catalogue online were provided with the opportunity to download the app through iTunes.
Taking it in-store
P&O Cruises purchased iPads for its sales staff to showcase the app to travel agents nationally – an engaging way to deliver new product information. With video available at the touch of a finger, agents can see the latest experiences available, as well as a calendar of upcoming cruise departures, maps, pricing, shore information and more. Agents can also select a cruise and departure ports, and click for voyage details with one touch.
“Using Adobe’s digital publishing solution, Enterprise Marketing’s team was able to utilise its existing design skills to create a highly engaging and interactive application,” says Michael Stoddart, evangelist, Adobe APAC. “The travel industry is one of a number of markets that have embraced digital publishing as a means to engage with their valued customers and we expect this to continue.”
The app hit number one in the iTunes store for travel/tourism, while downloads have exceeded expectations. At end of July 2011, the app has had more than 2000 downloads.
Carnival Australia’s Jenny Lourey says P&O Cruises is proud to be at the cutting edge of the cruise industry with its app option.
“The response from consumers and the trade has been great,” says Lourey. “Accessibility is key to connecting with our customers and the app is the perfect avenue to broaden our reach and increase consumer engagement with our brand.”