Marketing database of highly qualified travelers will be available to travel, financial and association partners.
WASHINGTON – It's smooth sailing for cruise line operators and their loyal customers as a new startup, CruisingSociety.org, enters unchartered waters for maximizing profits for operators while increasing value for travelers.
"The financial services industry has its FICO score to rate the most credit-worthy consumers," says Mitchell P. Davis, CEO of CruisingSociety.org, "And the travel industry has long needed a way to rank its most valuable customers. That's why we created the Cruising Society TravelUpgrade score. With one click of the mouse, we are able help travel companies, financial services organizations, and association partners gain access to our database of some of the most highly qualified travelers in the world."
"This is truly today's win-win situation," says Davis. "Cruise lines learn what they need to know about existing and potential cruisers and cruisers learn about cruising opportunities not otherwise available. The new company is creating a community of high-value travelers who share their travel spending patterns privately to receive their Cruising Society TravelUpgrade score. "This is a first for the industry because we will quantify the consumer. They also will share their travel experiences and recommendations online via Facebook and Twitter," he said.
Society members will be part of a database that can be reached by travel industry providers. Cruising Society will then provide marketing services via email to those same providers. While the demographic profiles will be shared, the names will not be. This privacy protection will ensure travelers provide accurate information.
Cruise lines that want to offer deals can submit their information for free to the weekly newsletter, which contains news and advertisements. "The news story that triggered this entire concept," says Davis, "is about MSC Cruise Line offering 'Loyalty Match' to members of other cruise line's status clubs with full reciprocity. MSC is offering comparable status in their loyalty program for cruise passengers from other programs. It's obvious that their assumption is that new guests will prefer the MSC experience and continue to cruise with the company."
The Cruising Society site, which has been operating since the second week of March – the business started on March 6th as a Facebook group – went viral with over 100 Twitter followers and the first dozen Travel Upgrade Report requests arriving within hours of the online application form being available. Available at MyTravelUpgrade.com, respondents sign up and share their travel information that's needed by travel company marketers.
The first dozen respondents reported that they had spent 460 nights on cruise ships and riverboats, flown 4.2 million air miles, visited 228 countries – an average of 19 each, and four had completed six circumnavigations of the globe.
"People are signing up for several reasons. They love the idea of competing with other world travelers to learn where they stand. Frequent fliers and cruisers love to brag about how many miles they've accrued and cruises they have taken. They collect and display status pins and reap the benefits those miles and cruise nights have earned them," Davis said. "Earning those loyalty benefits deters them from trying another cruise line unless it's offering a specific itinerary not available on the cruise line they usually sail.
Consumers also, understandably, want to receive the most value for their money. They can receive upgrades for the same money. They can learn about premier clubs, like Circumnavigators' Club that welcomes those who have made a round-trip of the world and often, invitations to private cocktail parties or special events, and other perks, all from the assistance of Cruising Society.
"No one else is offering this," he says. Here's how everyone benefits from this service:
- Consumers benefit by saving money from promotions and discounts. They can also save money and get top shelf benefits by qualifying for prestigious award programs quickly and without jumping through hoops or spending money.
- Travel companies benefit by offering promotions such as last-minute upgrades, early-bird rates, and discount rates.
- Credit card companies can offer elite status cards and loyalty programs.
- Travelers are attracted to the new service—which is free to consumers—because of these benefits:
Qualify for reciprocal upgrade offers. They may receive offers once their scores are known.
- Receive invitations to join other clubs they might qualify to join, but never knew existed.
- Bragging rights for being an elite traveler.
- Order collectible (and sometimes rare) pins and framable certificates to impress their friends.
- Join a community of like-minded travelers.
- Share experiences about travel destinations and services.
- "People love to get pins to show their status on social media," Davis said.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.