Can Cruise Lines and Casinos Attract Millennials?

BlackJack Table on the Norwegian Escape

In Dominican Today, David Jessop has penned an op-ed about millennials and their views on casinos and cruises – two indudstries that are key to the Caribbean tourism economy, but that don’t hold much appeal for the younger generation.

Jessop notes in the piece that: “For the Caribbean, millennials are a crucial must-reach tourist segment if the industry is to have a sustainable economic future. As a consequence, many tourist boards and properties have been adapting their marketing to reflect more closely the life style and aspirations of this valuable group.”

But evidence shows that, regardless of marketing, the younger generation just isn’t interested.

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“According to the gambling and casino industry trade press, millennials do not gamble much, do not visit casinos, despite what the glossy industry adverts purport to show, and more generally are looking for a different kind of experience,” he writes.

Like casinos, cruise lines generally attract an older clientele. Many cruise operators are trying to attract millennials through marketing directed specifically toward them and with products that appeal to that generation.

Spending in U.S. cruise sector tops $20 billion

By Tom Stieghorst
For the first time, the money spent in the U.S. cruise sector exceeded $20 billion last year, according to a CLIA study of the cruise industry’s economic impact.

That includes direct spending by passengers, crew and the cruise lines on items such as provisions, excursions, meals on shore and pre-and post-cruise hotel stays.

The $20.1 billion in direct spending mushrooms to a $44 billion economic impact when the effects of indirect spending and tertiary-level multipliers are factored in, the study says. In a separate study done for CLIA for the first time, researchers estimated the global cruise industry’s economic impact at $117 billion.

CLIA has commissioned an annual study of the cruise industry’s economic impact for at least a decade. This year’s 106-page report has in-depth data on spending, as well as state-by-state breakdowns for each economic category. As in the past, 10 states account for 80% of the economic activity in the cruise business, with Florida, California and Texas leading the way.

The number of passengers who traveled globally last year on North America-based lines rose 3.9%, to 17.6 million, CLIA said. The industry’s fleet, net of retirements, increased by 1 ship to 178 ships with a combined capacity of 338,505 lower berths,

An estimated 10.7 million U.S. residents took cruise vacations throughout the world, accounting for 61% of global passengers. Departures from U.S. ports totaled 9.96 million, a 1.3% decline, as more ships in the U.S. fleet operated outside U.S. waters, particularly in Asia, Australia and the Pacific islands.

Another significant finding in this year’s report is that employment generated by North American cruise lines has exceeded the level it reached before the 2008-09 economic downturn.

Jobs in the U.S. attributed to CLIA member lines (excluding river cruise lines) reached 363,393 last year, compared to 357,710 in 2008. The total plunged to 313,998 in 2009 and had only recovered to 356,393 by 2012.

When it comes to jobs directly held by cruise line employees, that total reached 147,898 last year, the study said. Cruise line employment peaked in 2007 at 158,376.

Carnival enters marketing partnership with casino operator

By Tom Stieghorst

Carnival Cruise Lines said club members at 18 casinos run by Penn National Gaming will get offers of complimentary cruises, starting in April.

The offers will be based on the level of play and are part of a marketing alliance between the two companies.

Penn National Gaming operates casinos and racetracks throughout the U.S., including the M Resort near Las Vegas and several Hollywood-branded casinos.

Gaye Gullo, Penn’s corporate vice president of marketing, said the Carnival offers would be another tool to reward loyalty to its casinos.

A joint announcement of the deal did not say how many player club members would be targeted in the marketing program.