P&O Cruises issues Brexit reassurance

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P&O Cruises has issued a series of promises to its passengers in a bid to ease any fears over Brexit.

As uncertainty mounts over the UK leaving the EU, the line reminded passengers they will avoid foreign currency fluctuations due to onboard spending being in pound sterling.

P&O Cruises also reminded passengers that all cruises with the line will be protected by Atol and Abta.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “We want to reassure our guests that whatever is happening in the world of politics, their holiday and peace of mind is of the utmost important to us.

“Our Brexit promise is that no matter what the future brings, our guests can rest assured when booking a P&O Cruises holiday as they will always pay in pounds sterling in advance and can take advantage of a low deposit to secure their holiday.

He added: “Also, a P&O Cruises holiday offers unbeatable value as so much is included as standard including meals, entertainment, children’s clubs, flights and taxes.

“With sailings directly from Southampton and by choosing shore excursions in advance, our guests can explore Europe without the need for euros.

“In addition, the currency on the ships is pounds which covers all shopping, dining, drinks, indulgent treatments in the spa and a range of shops with favourite British jewellery, clothing and cosmetic brands. We also have the protection of both Atol and Abta.

“With over 180 years of P&O history and expertise, we guarantee to manage any potential impact on holiday plans and help our customers sail through Brexit and onto their next cruise.”

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MSC Cruises’ return to ex-UK sailings delayed by a year

MSC Cruises is unlikely to return to offering a full season of ex-UK sailings until 2018, a year later than the line previously predicted.

Speaking at the steel cutting of new ship MSC Seaside (pictured), Gianni Onorato, chief executive of the line, said the line would be delayed returning to the UK by a year.

Initially there had been hopes that the brand would make a return in 2017, having pulled out this year.

Next year the line is offering a small number of sailings from Southampton, but Onorato said “internal commitments” had meant the operator would not have a ship sailing a full season from the UK until 2018.

He said: “we are going to look more deeply at the North American and UK markets, and then after that we will look at Asia.

“In the UK we want to be the reference cruise line for the Mediterranean, and we’re investing in that. As soon as we have growth in the fleet we will look to have a competitive ship in the UK market.

“I think we will have a one-year delay in coming back to the UK because of other developments internally.”

He said over time he would like MSC to rival domestic cruise lines such as P&O Cruises.

Giles Hawke, executive director for the line who is responsible for the UK market, said it was important for the line to grow and build revenues in the UK if it wants to secure a ship ex-UK.

Onorato also made some announcements about new features onboard MSC Seaside, which will sail year-round from Miami when it launches in 2017.

The ships will offer “super family plus” cabin for groups of up to 10 people, as the line looks to capitalise on the growth of multi generational and group cruises.

It will be “extremely kids-friendly” according to Onorato and will also have a kids-only restaurant. Onorato said MSC was a family company which always had families at heart.

He announced that there would be cluster cabins for groups of up to 10 people, with the super family plus option combining two balcony staterooms and an inside cabin.

UK travellers most likely to suffer from ‘app-nesia’ finds Google study

By Travolution

By Travolution

Travel apps, while popular in the UK, are among the most forgotten once they have been downloaded according to latest research from Google.The study, conducted with independent research firm Ipso, looked at the behaviour 1,200 UK app users in three business verticals; shopping, restaurants and takeaways and travel and holidays.

It found that one in five installed apps are then forgotten, yet in travel that figure was one in three (33%) – a phenomenon dubbed ‘app-nesia’.

Nearly half of respondents said they use an app when they want information quickly, compared to 17% who prefer a mobile site.

People tend to turn to mobile websites when they want more in-depth information, with 49% of those surveyed admitting they prefer a mobile site for this reason.

Apps were seen as simpler, quicker, more personalised and useful for fast transactional tasks:

The study found:

• For simplicity of navigation, 50% prefer an app, but 31% prefer a mobile website.
• In terms of speed of loading, 46% believe an app is quicker, while 29% say a mobile site would win.
• When it comes to ease of use, 51% prefer installed apps because logins are pre-entered.

Max Macintosh, agency head of Google UK, said: “A great app encourages brand interaction, is easy to navigate and is quick to load.

“But as our research shows, this won’t necessarily guarantee that customers will keep coming back.

“For successful ongoing app engagement, businesses can use push notifications, ensure apps appear in organic search results and link search ads and results to relevant pages in apps.

“Of course an app is a complement to, and not a substitute for, an optimised mobile site. When users want to compare options, gather information or go into greater depth, a mobile website comes into its own and should remain a top priority.”

Google’s tips to cure ‘app-nesia’?

Make the app engaging in the first place.
A good app mirrors or exceeds the best features of a brand’s mobile website – or even desktop site. Marketers should think about what the app is there to do – and then make sure it does it exceptionally well.

If the forgotten app is already a good one, brands have an opportunity to remind people about their relevance as nine in ten of those who have forgotten about their travel and holiday and shopping apps said they’d use them again.

Use push notifications intelligently. 
Push notifications can bring users back – as long as they’re employed shrewdly. Push notifications which send a very specific reminder or incentive get the best results. To do this, brands and agencies need to track in-app activities, create segments and target accordingly.

Advertise using rich media, search and display.
Advertising shouldn’t just focus on driving downloads; it also has a big role to play in re-engagement and ideally should send users straight to the most exciting or relevant page. As with notifications, tailoring the message to the audience is key.

It’s now possible to target people who already have an app versus those who don’t, as well as to provide different messaging when someone engages with ad content.

Measure, test, iterate and be prepared to start again.
Apps provide an exceptional opportunity to harvest data points – but only if customer event and third-party tracker tags are in place. Then it’s essential to find the right key performance indicators for the brand and its audience. Then use insights to adjust or even overhaul the offering.