Category Archives: Social Media

Norwegian Cruise Line and YouTube Partnership Announced

[tweetmeme source=”cruisesource” only_single=false “http://cruisesource.us/2010/09/08/ncl-youtube/”%5DIt was 2 weeks ago when I asked the Social Media related question to the Cruise Lines: How do we get more passenger generated content like this:

This morning I received a press release announcing the YouTube & Norwegian Cruise Line Partnership.  I almost fell out of my chair due to the timing. I’ve said for years that cruising and social media are like peanut butter and chocolate; two great tastes that taste great together. Cruise vacations are full of passengers creating fun memories captured digitally as photos and videos. 75% of the US hasn’t been on a cruise vacation yet, so the cruise industry has tons of room to grow. After non-cruisers view their friends and family’s vacations online they will want to experience it for themselves.    Now, NCL needs to integrate onboard marketing and programs that will lead passengers to editing and sharing their vacations when they get back home.  Enjoy the Press Release below and make sure to checkout The YouTube Vacationer, www.youtube.com/vacationer!

Norwegian Cruise Line

 

YouTube Launches New Travel Channel Powered by Norwegian Cruise Line

Robust channel provides travel ideas and inspiration from experts along with ability to create personalized Freestyle Cruising videos

 

MIAMI – Sept. 8, 2010 – Norwegian Cruise Line today announced it is working with YouTube to power the first-ever YouTube Vacationer, a travel-specific channel within the world’s largest online video site providing vacation inspiration with ideas and advice from well-traveled experts, such as Lonely Planet, National Geographic and Travel Channel. The YouTube Vacationer, www.youtube.com/vacationer, is also interactive, offering visitors a first of its kind opportunity to create their own “Vacation You” video experience and share it with others.

            Norwegian Cruise Line’s signature Freestyle Cruising approach is at the heart of this site, providing users the freedom, flexibility and choice to interact with more than two million combinations of video content enabling them to create and share their own unique Freestyle vacation experience.

When interacting within Norwegian’s “Vacation You” section of the YouTube Vacationer channel, visitors will select from a series of short video clips that tap into their vacation mindset to produce a customized 60-90 second montage of their ideal Freestyle Cruising vacations. Visitors can then share their personalized “Vacation You” video with friends and family through Facebook, Twitter or email. 

“By working with YouTube on their first-ever travel-specific channel, we are giving visitors the opportunity to experience our brand and all the options that Freestyle Cruising offers,” said Maria Miller, Norwegian Cruise Line’s senior vice president of marketing. “From a marketing perspective, this opportunity is compelling because it provides a truly organic user experience and represents another great way for brands to work with YouTube.”

“We are pleased to be working with Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovators in cruise travel, on our first branded travel channel,” said Mark Day, Sales Development at YouTube. “The YouTube Vacationer channel brings the best of our partners’ travel videos into a single destination to help users explore, plan and dream about their next vacations, and it gives users a way to see themselves in a customized vacation video with Norwegian’s ‘Vacation You’ application.”

To experience the YouTube Vacationer channel, visit www.youtube.com/vacationer.

About Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 44-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility.

Today, Norwegian has 11 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea.

Norwegian’s largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic, debuted in June 2010. Norwegian Cruise Line is the official cruise line of Blue Man Group, debuting for the first time at sea on Norwegian Epic, as well as the official cruise line of Legends in Concert, Second City® Comedy Troupe, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, Gibson Guitar, and Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids. Cirque Dreams & Dinner is also featured on board Norwegian Epic as the first show of its kind at sea under a big top.

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Cruise Line’s #1 Social Media Question Should Be?

[tweetmeme source=”cruisesource” only_single=false “http://cruisesource.us/2010/08/26/cruise-lines-social-media-question/”%5DSo, what do you think the Cruise Lines should be asking themselves when looking across the vast Social Media landscape? I believe their #1 question should be:

How do we get more of this?

This video is getting people pumped up on Youtube about going on the NCL Epic. This is a video created by a paying passenger! People trust their friends and family! There are tens of thousands of potential online content creators cruising each week. Many of these passengers are carrying high-powered cameras and video equipment. With a little creativity and investment the cruise lines can significantly grow the amount high-quality passenger-generated content that is being created and shared online with their friends and family. 75% of the US still have not taken a cruise vacation…. Videos like this will help dispel some of the myths, like all cruisers are old, that keep some people from going on their first cruise. Thanks to the power of social media, technology, and the awesome product offered by the cruise lines we should be able to convert many more first time cruisers.

Video created by kenswift12345 of his recent family vacation.

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Social Fresh Charlotte, Recap

[tweetmeme source=”cruisesource” only_single=false “http://cruisesource.us/2010/08/20/social-fresh-charlotte-recap/”%5DI recently attended the Social Fresh Social Media Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina geared toward marketers with a great showing from big brands and agencies.   One of the best parts of attending social media conferences is that when I get home I can experiment immediately with the few things that I learn.    By far, my favorite part of social media conferences is the networking at the pre/post parties and in between sessions.   Those who are the most passionate about social media seem to get the most out of the relationships made during quick conversations that happen between sessions at these conferences.  After the conference, they have to continue to grow these relationships online.   Social Fresh Cruise was created for the social media conference speakers, panelist, and attendees who want more time to truly build meaningful relations with other social media leaders.  A cruise is the most social form of vacationing and is very conducive to building life-long friendships. 

What did I learn at this Social Fresh Conference?  I learned that we have moved beyond is Social Media important to social media needs to be integrated with existing business practices and goal.   Social Media by itself is not the answer, but when properly integrated with your other marketing and branding activities the results can be awesome. 

Social Fresh CLT After Party

@JRuckman & @CruiseSource at Social Fresh CLT

I find Blue Sky Factory CEO,Greg Cangialosi to typically be about 6 months ahead of most others, and this year he was talking some Social CRM.  From Greg’s presentation, Social CRM will be one of the upcoming trends thanks in part to the slick new integration of Salesforce.com and Twitter.  In order to track ROI, we have to be able track leads from the source all the way to purchase.

Social Media is an ever expanding.  It now encompasses blogging, micro-blogging, Facebook, video creation and distribution, community management, mobile, monitoring, and much more.  As keynote Amber Naslund discussed future success will require a volunteer army from inside or outside the organization. In order to achieve success it needs to be integrated with business goals and with all traditional marketing efforts.

Photo by @TheRab.

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Top 10 things I learned about Twitter from #Cruise24

[tweetmeme source=”cruisesource” only_single=false “http://cruisesource.us/2010/08/09/top-10-things-i-learned-about-twitter-from-cruise24/”%5D Last week, I conducted a Social Media Experiment that I hashtagged #Cruise24.   As far as I know, I was the first person to tweet for 24 straight hours.   I tweeted for 24 hours from @CruiseSource, without sleeping or communicating any other way.   I wanted to focus on Twitter for an extended amount of time to get a better grasp of the state of conversation on Twitter.  Luckily, I work for CruiseDeals.com and they have been supportive of all my crazy social media ideas.  I’ve included all the stats from the experiment at the bottom of the blog post:

Why? Due to my personal busyness, others busyness, and the increase in bot/spam accounts I’d been feeling like the conversation had drastically decreased from where it was a couple of years ago. I have Twitter up all day at work, but I only passively monitor the conversation outside of a few times each week where I may fully commit to the conversation.   Due to this passive monitoring, I’ve been anxious that I am missing out some potential opportunities to book cruises via Twitter.

I also used the experiment to raise money & awareness for the Cruise4Haiti by getting donations of $24 from as many people as possible.  I learned a lot from continuously searching Twitter,  attempting to have cruise related conversations, and trying to raise money over a 24 hour period.  Here are my 10 top observations about the current state of conversation on Twitter:

#1.  The conversation is still on Twitter.  There are lots of people having conversations on twitter @replying each other. I think the fact that you can’t see all of your friends @replies make it appear that there is a lot less conversation on Twitter. But there is still very little conversation about cruising outside of between travel agents and other travel industry professionals.

#2.  Commit to the Conversation. If you truly want to be part of the conversation, then you need to be focused solely on Twitter for a set amount of time.  You are not able to have meaningful conversations by casually monitoring Twitter throughout the day. Conversations are a two-way street and both members need to be committed the conversation

  • I think it’s gotten too easy for us to monitor Twitter throughout the day, looking for search terms and responding to @replies.  Thanks to Hootsuite and TweetDeck apps for Iphone and Droid it is easy to monitor Twitter all day long with multiple accounts.  This is a very passive approach and I think this is why I was feeling that the conversation had slacked on Twitter.
  • To more effectively and efficiently use Twitter, I’ll be making major changes to how use Twitter thanks to the experiment. I will share details in the next blog post!

#3 The sense of community on Twitter is still strong.  We raised about $1400 for Cruise4Haiti’s non-profit partner Airline Ambassadors.   Most of the $24 donations came from friends who I have met on Twitter and have spent time with face to face playing basketball, cruising the Caribbean on Social Fresh Cruise, at Tweetups, etc.    By utilizing twitter as a catalyst to meet as many people as possible in person, it enabled me to raise money for a great cause.  Without putting in the time to build real relationships, I wouldn’t have raised more than a couple of hundred dollars.

#4 Twitter is a social bank account.  You have to make deposits by supporting your friend’s projects and businesses.   By actively supporting and being involved with #TAMxc, #SilentClark, #SoFresh, #TPTpoker, #SCLThoops, #REBCCLT, and many other twitter hashtags in the past, I received support back from those friends for #Cruise24.

#5 It’s all about relationships. By primarily only getting donations from Twitter friends who I have met in person or share common passion, I learned that Twitter is still all about relationships.  People are not regularly clicking on links from Twitter and making purchases, but they are making purchases from their Twitter friends.   Building these relationships take time and effort.   Luckily for those of us who are serious about growing our business via Twitter, most people are not willing to put in the work to build those relationships.

#6 There’s ton of junk on Twitter.   When searching for people discussing cruise, I found so much spam and junk accounts.   It’s tough to weed through all the junk to find real people to tweet with.  I can see why some new people to Twitter get turned off.   Hopefully Twitter will do a better job of weeding out spam/feed accounts that lower the value of the Twitter stream.

#7 Too many messages coming from outside apps.  Facebook, Ping.fm, Posterous, and many other apps are feeding tweets.  These are just more messages to weed through if you are looking to have a real 140 character conversation, because the people who sent them are not actually on Twitter and will not see the @reply.   So you respond to one of these tweets, and do not get a response because the person is actually on Facebook, Posterous, FourSquare etc.   Sometimes this leads to non-real time conversations which seem to be a growing percentage of the conversation on Twitter.

#8 Don’t Butt in. 2 Friends having a conversation about the potential of booking a cruise do not respond well with a cruise account like @CruiseSource butting into their conversation.   So even when you find someone discussing  the potential of booking a cruise, it is tough to get a reply when you butt into their conversation.

#9 If you want the word to get out, get on the radar of a key influencer1 Tweet from @ChrisBrogan equals about 200 tweets from @CruiseSource for generating traffic, retweets, excitement, and awareness.   Social Media leaders with strong legit followings like @ChrisBrogan & others are so busy and overwhelmed it’s tough to get on their radars, but if you can, it will make a huge a difference.

#10. GO BIG.  View social media and Twitter as a playground.  We’re all experimenting.  Use this to your advantage and don’t be scared to push the envelope of what is possible.   Being different and trying things that have never been done will set you apart from the noise, even if it is only for 24 hours.

Rich Tucker aka CruiseSource

Tired after 24 hours of Tweeting

How do you feel about the current state of conversation on Twitter?

Thank you to all my friends who supported #Cruise24 and to all the new friends I made during the experiment.   Stats from #Cruise24:  24hrs. of Tweeting, 658 Tweets, 37 Donors, 50 net new followers, 19 non-responses from @replies (@Redbull did not respond to 5 @replies), 55 Cruise Related Conversations with mostly non-industry Twitter accounts.

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#Cruise24 Social Media Experiment

On Monday, August 2nd, 2010 I will be on Twitter with my @cruisesource account for 24 straight hours to see how many people I can talk to about cruising.   From 11AM ET on August 2nd – 11AMET on August 3rd, I will only communicate using Twitter and the CruiseSource.us Blog from my home office in Indian Trail, NC.  I’ve never done anything for 24 hours straight, so this should be pretty interesting!  I will be tracking several statistics from this experiment and I will share all of them in about a week.  The Hashtag for this Social Media Experiment is #Cruise24.   During the experiment, I’m also attempting to get 100 people to donate $24 to the Airline Ambassadors, one of our non-profit partners for the Cruise4Haiti.   We’re giving away a big prize, details below.

Why?  Twitter has been life changing for me over the last 2 years.  Recently though, I’ve been a little down on Twitter because it doesn’t seem to be as conversational as it was back when I was originally drawn to it.  Today, I find that it is not uncommon to send people @ replies and not get a response.   Is part of the problem that I’ve gotten busier or is it that there are too many people on Twitter not really listening?  I will find out, because I am not allowing anything to interupt my Twitter conversation for 24 hours.
 

Prizes:  One donor will win an International roundtrip Ticket from American Airlines.    So for a Tax-Deductable donation of $24, you will have the chance to win an airline ticket for anywhere in the world!  There is a $50 activation fee, and there are some restrictions on the ticket.   You want to donate a prize? You better act fast!  Leave a comment or @ reply @cruisesource on Twitter

* the drawing for the ticket won’t be held until there are at least 100 donors for $24 each
* the airline ticket won’t be available for a few weeks, so you will not be able to use it for a last minute Summer vacation

So if you have any cruise related questions, today is a great day to ask it.  If you’re looking to book a cruise, let’s take care of it today on Twitter.  Just send @cruisesource a Tweet. 

I’d also like to thank my employer, Travel Leaders Leisure Group & CruiseDeals.com for allowing me to spend 2 days on a Twitter experiment. – Happy Sailing & Tweeting ~ Rich Tucker

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#SilentClark Making Waves on the Internets

I met Clark Harris, aka @SilentClark, for the first time in person this evening. Clark has challenged himself to be silent for the entire month of May using only Social Media to communicate. His goal is leverage social media to raise $100,000 to fight Leukemia in the memory of his mother who passed last year after a battle with the Cancer.

@MatthewSimpson @SilentClark @CruiseSource

Thanks to Matthew Simpson, Social Fresh Cruise attendee, I’ve been involved with the #SilentClark Social Media Experiment since May 3rd. It’s been exciting to watch the experiment grow from @SilentClark from groundzero to Clark being interviewed on Atlanta 11 Alive news and Mashable.com with 2 week remaining in the experiment. Clark and Matthew were driving from Atlanta to Raleigh and we took the opportunity to tweetup and grab a beer in Charlotte, NC. I’m so glad I got to meet Clark in person, although he remained silent. Taking offline relationships offline is the key to making the most out of the Social Media…I’m sure I will see Clark again when he can speak. Online friends are great, but when you share a once in life-time experience in person you take relationships to completely different level.

Getting to experience the experiment offline this evening gave me a much better understanding of how extreme the challenge to be silent for whole month is. It is more of a Social Experiment than a Social Media Experiment. It tests many of the social norms that we take for granted and its impact is felt more offline than online. Following along online is entertaining. Clark gives business cards to everyone he interacts with explaining why he must use Twitter or some other Social Media tool to communicate with them. Our waitress was enthralled by the whole concept and asked atleast 20 questions. Clark has 11 more days of silence. Follow the Twitter hashtag #SilentClark to keep up with the whole conversation. Share the Social Media Experiment Blog with your friends on FaceBook, Twitter, and Email (people still use email?).

As the momentum continues to build through Social Media and traditional media for #SilentClark, reaching the goal of $100,000 is not out of the realm of possibilities. He will need your support. Become a friend on of SilentClark Harris on FaceBook, become a fan of Silence Cancer on Facebook, and Share the Social Media Experiment Blog with your friends!

Good Luck Clark!!

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Nation Ford High School Visit, Recap

Yesterday, I visited Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, South Carolina to talk to the Virtual Enterprise class about the cruise industry and the ins and outs of running an online cruise agency.   The Nations Ford Virtual Enterprise class, taught by Lou Anne Cornwell, chose to be an online Cruise Agency for their virtual business (great choice).  They interact in a virtual economy with the other Virtual Enterprise businesses from around the US.   I was impressed by how well this program is preparing students for the real world.  They have to write a business plan, write resumes, interview with local business leaders, develop websites, create commercials, and almost any other function that is required to run a business.  

Checking out the Website

I showed them how we market CruiseDeals.com online and how we use social media to interact with our customers and continuously provide free information to help make the cruising experience better for all cruisers.   I explained to them that Travel Agents provide value by using their expertise to match up clients with the perfect cruise based on the client’s preferences.    Vacations are in most consumers’ top 5 most expensive purchases and a good travel agent ensures that their client gets the most out of that investment.   After answering a few questions, I toured the class to review their website, 30 second commercial, accounting tools, invoices, brochures, and company policies.

What I Learned: My fellow Travel Professionals, take this as your fair warning.  If this group of students is any indication of what the future holds you better step up your game.  15 – 20 year olds grew up on the internet and creating a professional website, editing video & pictures, using social media, maximizing mobile devices all come naturally to this generation.  Their strong base of technical knowledge will give them a huge advantage as technology development continues to move forward at light speed.   We have to adopt new technology quickly as it becomes available and push ourselves to continuously experiment and learn. 

Prior to meeting the Nation Ford High School Virtual Enterprise class, I’d become jaded about high school curriculum.  I felt that US students graduate high school without basic real world skills like how to buy a house, how to write a resume, how to fill out their tax forms, and other basic finance skills.  I’m glad that I went to “teach” this class about the cruise industry because I learned that there are programs teaching students real world skills, teachers like Lou Anne Cornwell who enthusiastically teach those classes, and that these students come naturally loaded with a base of technical knowledge that will help them compete in the real world.

The HR Department

All Smiles in the Virtual Enterprise Class

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