A cruise ship’s success is largely based on the occupancy rate. How do they keep this rate high?
Cruise ships are employing a variety of methods, including discount sales and last-minute travel agents.
This article will explore How Cruise ships fill their unsold Cabins, as well as how to stay ahead of them if you plan on booking a cruise soon.
Most people assume that cruise ship companies wait until the last minute before deciding how many passengers they can accommodate.
The truth is, most of these cruise ships already have a plan in place on how to fill unsold fares long before that.
Many cruise lines offer incentives for early bookings and use these to fill their remaining slots on days when they are less likely to sell out.
They offer discounts that are greater than those offered for later bookings, as well as perks like onboard spending credits or on-site promotions at popular tourist destinations.
So, What Happens To The Empty Cruise Cabins?
The first thing you need to know about cruise ships is that they are big. Really big.
And not just the kind of “big” that means they have a lot of people on board, but the kind of “big” that means their cabins are really expensive and hard to fill up.
The last thing you want to happen is for your ship to be sailing along with empty rooms, so cruise lines use all sorts of tactics to attract new customers and get them on board (and paying).
- They offer discounts when travel becomes more complicated during peak seasons-like Christmas break or summertime;
- They hire last-minute travel agents who can make deals with people who just realized they need to get on a boat;
- And the most controversial tactic of all: they offer big groups huge deals, which can still be cheaper than paying for individual cabins.
How Cruise Ships Fill Their Unsold Cabins
Cruise lines have a variety of methods which they employ to ensure that all their cabins are fully booked! Let’s explore some of these techniques.
Last-Minute Travel Agents
One of the most traditional methods of how cruise Ships fill their unsold Cabins is to employ last-minute travel agents who can make deals with people who just realized they need to get on a boat.
How Does This Work?
Cruise lines contract these agencies to sell off their remaining inventory for as little as $200 per person, and they don’t have any obligation to be on the ship at check-in time.
The agency will usually send a representative onboard responsible for selling out those rooms quickly before disembarking right after the boat leaves port.
They will make an announcement of some sort about how there are still available spaces (and maybe even offer additional discounts).
Then go into each cabin and seek people interested in buying it–sometimes offering freebies like shore excursions or meals, depending on what was negotiated beforehand.
This helps the cruise line by filling their cabin and getting rid of a high-risk investment (the cost to the company for each unsold room could be as high as $2000) while also making it easier on potential travelers with an urgent need.
The last-minute agency representatives can sell anything from one cabin or suite all the way up past 20–depending on how many they have left at that point in time.
Another method is to offer discounted prices on cabins, available to everyone and usually with generous terms for payment.
How Does This Work?
Cruise lines will keep track of who’s looking for tickets and are likely to purchase soon (based on how often they’re checking or browsing the site).
Then when enough people have expressed interest in buying at that lower cost point, the cruise line will announce their “new” sale price.
The downside is that it might not attract new travelers–just those with plans already set up.
Plus, some last-minute deals and specials may only apply if you purchase before a certain date/time—otherwise, you’ll pay full price for your cabin.
Flash deals for group travelers
Another way cruise ships use to filling unsold cabins is by offering people who plan to travel together deals they cannot refuse.
How does this work?
Cruise lines will have a certain number of spaces available at a lower price point, and they’ll open it up to any group that’s willing to commit early on (in order to lock in arrangements).
How many tickets need to be bought is often specified–sometimes the minimum is two or four cabins, which translates into eight or 16 people total.
This way, companies can see how much interest there is before committing all those rooms and guarantees them an amount of money upfront based on the agreed-upon cabin cost per person.
Early Booking Discounts
Cruise lines will often offer deals about a year ahead of time, such as getting double the cruise for half the price but also having to make your plans right away–meaning that not everyone can take advantage.
So they’ll move to discounts that are still good, but not quite as sweet: saving 15% off your cabins if you book within six months of the voyage’s departure date.
Cruise lines will offer these discounts to get people onboard and lower the risk for them–while also reminding passengers how much they’re missing out on by waiting until a later date (when it might be too late).
How Do You Stay Ahead Of Them?
One way to ensure that your cruise ship is not sold out before you book is to book early.
If you wait until the last minute, many passengers will have already booked a few days before the deadline.
This leaves the potential for unsold cabins, one of which could be yours. Consider booking as soon as reservations are open to secure an early spot on a cruise.
It’s also important to anticipate offers, so look for signs that the cruise line may be offering discounts soon and make your reservation accordingly.
Now you know how Cruise Ships Fill Their Unsold Cabins, like discount sales and last-minute deals.
Some may work better for you than others–find the one that best suits your needs to ensure that there’s always room on board when it’s time to set sail!