Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ senior management visited the UK recently to reaffirm their commitment to an international strategy after celebrating Europa 2′s inaugural year. They are seeking an increase in international guest base
The Europa 2, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ latest addition to its fleet of luxury and expedition ships, was launched in May of 2013 and has just celebrated her first year in operation. In recognition of this, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises CEO Karl J Pojer and Europa 2‘s Director of Product Management, Julian Pfitzner, took the opportunity to host a press event in London.
For Karl Pojer, it was his inaugural visit to the UK as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises CEO. Pojer took on his new role as head of the Hamburg-based luxury cruise operator in May 2013. He comments: “The United Kingdom has proved a very important international market to us and we are very pleased to see a growing number of British guests.”
With its two ultra-luxury cruise ships and two expedition ships, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is regarded as one of the leading operators in the luxury and expedition segment in the German-speaking countries. All cruises on board the Europa 2 are international, operated in both English and German. In its expedition segment, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will offer a selection of international cruises on board its 5-star-rated expedition ship Hanseatic.
The expansion of marketing in international markets goes hand-in-hand with the focus on the areas of luxury and expedition. “By consistently focusing on these two pillars, we strive to enhance further our strength and our leading position as regards quality in these segments and at the same time we will address new markets“, explained Pojer.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has been able to increase its international guest base by 42 % between 2013 and June 2014. For its latest marketing activities, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has selected the United Kingdom, United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Scandinavia as priority target markets. “With Europa 2, we believe we have a perfect ship to offer an international flair and to address a sophisticated, cosmopolitan target group, planning in future to increase market share in our defined international markets”, says Julian Pfitzner, Director Product Management Europa 2.
“It has been a good year for Europa 2 since her launch. In September she received the highest distinction of a 5-star-plus ranking from the Berlitz Cruise Guide 2014. This high rating reflects an overall 97% guest’s recommendation rate. Both are very positive distinctions for us,” explains Pfitzner. “Europa 2 is a modern and casual luxury ship, which does away with cruise traditions such as the captain’s dinner. With this new concept, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has attracted 50% new guests – of which many have never cruised before.” With up to 500 guests, Europa 2 provides the greatest space per passenger of any cruise ship in the world. The ship features exclusively suites with verandas and a minimum area of 375 sq ft. Seven restaurants and six bars are dedicated to serving culinary diversity and a large spa and fitness area accommodates the well-being trend on cruises.
Pfitzner concludes: “We are aware of the challenges of the international marketplace and existing industry competition. However, we believe our concept of combining 5-star-plus standards with sophisticated informality and flexible route planning is the key to the way forward and continued success. We understand and are committed to the new way to enjoy relaxed luxury.”
Hapag-Lloyd revealed that its strategy to attract more international passengers was squarely focused on Britons, saying expectations were for the UK to make up 7½% of the line’s total bookings.
In order to attract passengers, Hapag-Lloyd will be offering cruises that call in the UK and cruises that depart from the UK in addition to a complimentary €200 beverage package for all international passengers booking their first cruise on two of the line’s ships – Europa 2 and Hanseatic. The €200 onboard credit offer will come into effect on bookings beginning Autumn 2014. A specific date has yet to be set.
Pfitzner added that the line was committed to bringing the ship to UK ports and was even considering offering a round-Britain cruise on Europa 2. “We will see many more UK ports on our itineraries,” Pfitzner said. “And more cruises departing from the UK.”
CEO Pojer said the move had been decided based on feedback from UK passengers, who had repeatedly raised the subject of Hapag-Lloyd’s luxury vessels charging extra for drinks onboard, while gratuities and meals at all seven onboard eateries are included in the cruise fare.
Pojer said: “We listen to our international customers, and we know there are needs that are different from the German market … From the feedback we have heard that the subject of all-inclusive is always coming up.” Pojer said Hapag-Lloyd was hoping to source 15% of its passengers from outside Germany.
For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.