Cruising to Recovery
Along with a cautious return to operations for the cruise industry comes a renewed focus on the guest experience onboard, which is music to the ears of those who provide cruise lines with incredible entertainment experiences, like us at West Entertainment!
Ready to Set Sail again!
As grim as things were just a few short months ago, the industry has demonstrated terrific resiliency. Cruise-lovers are a special breed of die-hard enthusiast, and many have already flocked back to their favorite holiday activity. A New York Times article recently reported that analysts are “generally optimistic about [the industry’s] prospects and the potential for passenger numbers to recover to pre-pandemic levels,” … perhaps as soon as next year. Encouragingly, Carnival also told USA Today that the average ship was 59% full in August (up from 39% in June) and that voyages were generating enough revenue to cover cash costs, with some reports suggesting that passengers are spending up to 20% more onboard than they did in 2019.
Onboard is where it’s at
Even as cruising regains its sea-legs, many operators have had to move forward with limited itineraries, given that shore excursions in some destinations are still not possible. When they are available, excursions are currently a bit more expensive (or just tricky) thanks to testing or vaccine passport requirement, or even guest chaperoning policies at the destination. This all equates to more time on the ship for cruise-goers, so entertainment has never mattered more.
After actually GROWING its partner base and content library during the pandemic, West Entertainment is now the second largest distributor of content to the industry and the team is perfectly positioned to help cruise lines curate incredible content experiences across their fleets, even as budgets remain under pressure.
West Entertainment’s advantage
West Entertainment has been operating as a distributor to the cruise sector since the company launched in 2016. Being a distributor means that West has exclusive deals with a wide roster of leading and innovative content owners and producers, to sell their titles into the cruise sector.
Cruise Account Director, Ayesha Virji, who joined West Entertainment in 2016 from Sea Movies, is one of the main reasons for our accelerated success in this market.
“I’ve been working on the cruise side of the content business for over ten years now, so that knowhow is one of the greatest attributes that I bring to West,” says Ayesha. “We basically work with all cruise lines that are looking for engaging content, and that’s a big advantage to our portfolio of leading distributors.”
For Ayesha, it was important to use the slow period created by COVID-19 to position West for success on the other side of the pandemic… and that’s just what she and her team have done. During the past 18 months, West Entertainment has entered into a number of exciting new partnerships, expanding our offering of content and making us a true leader in creative content solutions for the sector.
“We’ve got more incredible content in every category than we have ever had before. It’s not just about in-room movies with cruise lines, we’ve also got a wide range of TV programs including leading dramas, documentaries and sports programs along with special strategic relationships that provide the best in ambient content, concerts, news and live TV channels! What’s more is that the cruise ship is such a rich environment and we get to look at content through a different lens,” Ayesha explains.
“The cool thing about working with ships is realizing just how many ways content can enhance the guest experience. Beautiful and relaxing ambient content, for example, is popular for inside nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, as well as lobby areas, poolside, or the spa… and immersive live events have been a hit too. Our cruise lines are also telling us that the onboard cinemas are seeing a big increase in attendance right now. We think this is a side-effect of all the lockdowns. People have got cabin fever and want to take advantage of being in theatres!”
Ultimately, while optimism is back and travellers are once again boarding the big ships they love, we understand that cruise line budgets have been hit hard, just like the airlines. At West Entertainment we’ve become exceptionally good at curating content programs that respect the limitations of a smaller budget, but don’t compromise on quality and diversity. This is where our decades of expertise, incredible partnerships and our passion for content really comes into play.
Why not call us and find out what Ayesha and the West Entertainment cruise team can do for you?
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Cruise Account Director