Celebrity Cruises aims to grow its MICE pie

Celebrity Millennium is the first ship this year to complete its revitalisation

Celebrity Cruises is looking to grow its MICE business in Asia, leveraging its US$500-million fleet-wide modernisation alongside pioneering unique onboard experiences to court more corporate groups.

Currently, business groups only account for less than 10 per cent of Celebrity’s overall business, a percentage that associate vice president for corporate meetings, incentives and charter sales, Lisa Vogt, believes still has “much room to growth”.

Celebrity Millennium is the first ship this year to complete its revitalisation

Vogt said: “Our penetration in Asia is still low, but we have seen the dividends after investing effort and time to attract incentives in recent years. For instance, a direct selling company from Hong Kong booked an Alaska cruise for 600 staff this June 2019.”

She added that there are many companies in Asia already conducting incentives on land, and urges corporate groups to “open their minds” to try cruising incentives because they are convenient and immersive experiences.

Corporate groups hailing from China and Hong Kong typically prefer shorter programmes such as a seven-night itinerary to the Caribbean or Alaska, but Vogt foresees that destinations like Ireland and Scandinavia will soon rise in popularity.

Celebrity Cruises has also lined nine vessels up for upgrades between 2019 and 2023. The US$500 million modernisation exercise will see event spaces being revolutionised and reimagined across the entire fleet, all in all making the ships more attractive for the corporate segment.

“We are updating entire areas, from furnishings and decor to technology. In terms of entertainment, we teamed up with American Ballet to offer classical ballet dancing experience at sea. This is unprecedented in cruise industry and we are the first cruise company to launch this. It’s more than a performance; ballet classes are conducted on board and it’s great for team activities, enrichment and education,” Vogt elaborated.

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