I feel like we, the cruise industry have done a poor job educating businesses about the value of Conference Cruises.
We are planning the Social Fresh Cruise, which is the premier Social Media Conference on a Cruise Ship. All of the attendees are leaders in Social Media and they attend multiple social media conferences each year. The companies they work for pay the other conference throughout the year, but because this conference is on a cruise ship several of the individuals have to pay for it themselves. It appears that about 30% of the attendees are paying for the cruise on their own.
The Social Fresh Cruise starts at $395 per person, which is close to the price for tickets for many of the conferences through-out the year. Then they have to pay for Hotels and Meals which adds up quickly. The $395 includes a 4-day cruise, 8 hours of Social Media Sessions, breakfast and lunch buffets, semi-formal dinners, 2 cocktail parties, broadway style shows, free shore excursions, etc. The conference sessions content will be managed by Jason Keath, Greg Cangialosi and Chris Brogan, one of the best in the Social Media industry. But, it appears that many companies do not get it. The fact that it is on Cruise Ship…they label it a vacation. I admit that it will be the funnest Social Media Conference of the Year, but is that reason enough for the company not to pay for it? We need the companies to focus on the amazing value…not that most people go on Cruise Ships to vacation.
Fortunately, Leaders in Social Media understand the huge personal benefit of networking with other leaders in a more relaxed setting like a Cruise Ship. They also cross paths all year and never really get to focus on strengthening their relationships. As I look toward planning Conference Cruises for other industries, the fact that some companies will not pay for their employees attendance because it is on a cruise ship could be a potential deterrent to making the attempt.
Any Cruise Agents run into this issue while planning business-related group cruises? Have you planned an event on a cruise that an Employer would have paid for if it were on land but because it was on a cruise ship it was a vacation? What can we do better to Market Conference Cruises so that Companies are more willing to pay for the Cruise?