CNN reports that more companies are choosing cruises for corporate meetings, executive retreats and board meetings. Meeting planners find that cruising offers several advantages that result in successful meetings.
- Great prices – 20-30% lower than comparable hotel event
- Value added amenities – cruises include entertainment, dining and activities
- Increased attendance– from new and exciting cruise
- More participation & higher satisfaction – better attendee experience
- Better contract terms and conditions – more liberal group contracts than many hotels
Great price, less staff needed. Inclusive cruise events can lower costs for host companies. When comparing apples to apples — including meals, entertainment, presentation equipment and meeting space – an all-inclusive event saves 20 to 30% on cost. Corporations working with good also need fewer on-site staff to run events since cruise lines are regularly staffed with all the AV, catering and guest service personnel needed.
Value added amenities. Companies have access to amenities on cruise ships they might
not otherwise be able to afford for a retreat– nightly entertainment, happy hours, floral arrangements, audio/visual equipment, and personally chosen meals rather than preplanned banquet platters. Corporations working with good cruise lines also need fewer on-site staff to run events.
Increased attendance & satisfaction. Rather than the same old (dark) hotel ballroom, cruises offer attendees and new and exciting venue. Attendees enjoy conference rooms with an ocean view, or a chance to sunbathe on deck during lunch. They can attend a cabaret or other night time entertainment after a featured speaker presentation. Attendees also get time off in exotic ports of call.
More participation. Taking people to an environment they don’t go often or have never been, shifts the perspective all together. Cruising gives you the advantage of a captive audience but builds in the social and excursion time needed to get a clear head, generate fresh thinking and share new experiences with colleagues.
Better contract terms and conditions. The contracts for cruise programs are often more liberal than hotel contracts on attrition clauses and less restrictive cancellation fees. Professional site selection and contract negotiation are still key to a successful meeting with a positivefor host company.
Beware – Not all ships are created equal.
meeting planners should do their homework before committing to a group cruise program. For example, some cruise ships have lower quality food and smaller rooms than a land hotel. Organizers should pay attention to how long they will be in port at various destinations and how long they are at sea in between stops.
There are many cruise lines out there, some of which can provide a 5-star experience. They need not be the wild spring break on-board experience that some may fear. If you are looking for a new meeting venue, a cruise may offer exciting new alternatives for companies.
For more information on Corporate Meetings at Sea, contact Kathleen Peters, Group Travel Specialist at 407-951-8485.