A new workshop format for the 150 attendees at the 2016 Cruise Canada New England Symposium saw cruise lines lead tables of 10 to 12 people in an interactive and engaging discussion on Wednesday in Manhattan.
Tables were first assigned a topic. The tables then engaged in discussions of those assigned topics as led by cruise line executives at each table, who were complemented by presentations from Symposium leaders that helped drive conversation and engagement.
Topics included consumer demand, tourism/revenue development and promotion/guest satisfaction/region building.
Over the morning workshop, each table put together a quick five-minute presentation based on a two hour ongoing dialogue.
After a lunch break, the presentations took place, with a quick format allowing for questions and feedback from Symposium leaders.
With 13 tables, a variety of ideas were presented, from basic marketing initiatives to drive summer traffic to Canada/New England, to the idea of an umbrella organization for the group, adding more short cruises, in addition to ideas of calling during local festivals, chartering a ship for the summer and more.
While the region has long talked about building up summer traffic, it fights a steep uphill battle against European markets. In addition, according to Cruise Industry News data, the region is not growing as quickly as the industry, with overall market share sliding from 1.6 percent to 1.0 percent over the last five years.
Cruise line representatives suggested incentives for summer calls and lower port costs. There were also innovative ideas, such as marketing bucket list items in each port for children to experience.
Hidden in the discussion was fall foliage, the region's foremost asset and selling point for the brunt of its shoulder season cruise traffic. With a retiring population base of baby boomers in the United States with disposable income, the region could be poised for more autumn growth.