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Last week, Siren’s Celebrity Cruises team was busy as we worked with our client to deliver an exclusive ship yard tour of their new ship Celebrity Edge, in Saint-Nazaire, France for a hand-picked group of top-tier trade, consumer and cruise specialist media from the UK and Ireland. Little did they know that, while there, they would also be the first to learn that the next ship from Celebrity Cruises’ Edge Class series, Celebrity Apex, will be launched and be named in the UK in April 2020.

 

Our group included representatives from The Sunday Times, Mail Online, Sleeper Magazine, Travel Weekly, TTG and the Daily Telegraph, and fellow journalists from across Europe and the US. They were hosted on their tour of Celebrity Edge by Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises. They were shown Edge’s Stateroom with Infinite Balcony and twin-level Edge Villas, the swimming pool deck, Eden restaurant and The Spa, and the ship’s iconic, world-first Magic Carpet cantilevered dining space which hangs over the side of the ship itself. Throughout the day, they were immersed in to the thinking behind the transformational design of the ship, and Celebrity Cruises’ signature ‘modern luxury’ reimagination of a holiday at sea.

Their tour also included a reveal of the Grand Plaza, the final signature component of the Celebrity Edge experience by Jouin Manku Studio, and the beating heart of the ship’s  design story. This immersive space will embody the heart and soul of Celebrity Edge with the aim to completely transform the way guests connect to the world at sea.

The surprise announcement about Edge’s sister ship, Celebrity Apex, represents a major commitment by the Celebrity Cruises brand to the UK market, and is the first time in a decade that Celebrity Cruises has named and operated a ship from the UK. More importantly, this will be the first time Celebrity Cruises will operate two ships from the UK’s busiest port, Southampton, as Celebrity Silhouette will also return in 2020 for its third consecutive year.

 

Two such significant announcements inevitably created a lot of buzz in our target media. Breaking across social media, the news was picked up by The Daily Telegraph Online, Travel Weekly and TTG in minutes, with local Southampton-area media also running it through the day. Coverage has continued since, meaning interest in Edge (and now Apex) remains high as we get ever closer to the official inauguration later this year.

 

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blog_, siren team news_, travel & pr_

Siren Comms won big at the 2018 TTG Awards last night, scooping the trophy for PR & Representation Company of the Year, and sharing in the glory of victories for Celebrity Cruises and Gold Medal / Travel 2


The award, which is selected by an expert panel, is given to the agency which is judged to have done the most for the UK travel industry. Siren’s entry focused on its ‘Celebrity Love Island’ campaign delivered for Celebrity Cruises during the peak WAVE period earlier this year, which married the twin travel agent obsessions of reality TV and social media to create the perfect sweetspot in which our client could leverage its ‘love’ for this critical sales channel. 

We were tasked with increasing agent engagement, and exceeding a sales target of 21,000 booked passengers. With no additional budget, and by deploying a ‘Facebook-first’ strategy with video at its core, we’d help to drive more than 23,400 passenger bookings (+11% over target and +20% higher than the same period 12 months prior) by the end of the WAVE period. Moreover, revenue was £2.5m over target.

Our Facebook content itself garnered over 16,000 views of the launch video and nearly 30,000 views of the campaign films during the WAVE period itself. That equates to an 855% increase in video views, a 710% increase in post engagement, a 189% increase in page reach and a 59% increase in page likes year on year.


Additionally, more than 75 pieces of trade-facing coverage were secured (+34% YoY), with a combined reach of over 450,000 and total value over £125,000. It was the most talked-about trade campaign of the year.


In the words of Jo Rzymowska, Vice President & Managing Director of Celebrity Cruises UK, Ireland and Asia, “Siren’s work in conceiving of and executing the Celebrity Love Island trade campaign made all the difference to our 2017/2018 WAVE period. We’ve never experienced such high levels of engagement among the trade. In doing so, they helped us to smash the trade sales target and increase the overall share of this vital channel – all within budget! Brilliant!”

It’s been a big 12 months for Siren Comms_, with senior hires, exciting new client wins, a new identity and website – we’ve even moved offices. Last night’s award is a testament to the whole team’s hard work, and is the perfect platform to accelerate our momentum in to 2019! 

 

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“Now’s the day and now’s the hour”

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been pounding the streets of London, not just to meet our daily steps targets but to prep for Rabbie’s London Quote Quest.

In celebration of the small-group tours specialist’s 25th anniversary, Rabbie’s has placed famous quotes from Robert Burns in 25 locations across the capital. Anyone who spots a quote, posts a photo on social media using #Rabbies25 and tagging Rabbie’s is in with a chance of winning one of 25 tours exploring the gems of this here isle.

Rabbie’s started up in Edinburgh in 1993 as a one van operation and over the last 25 years it has grown into an award-winning tour company offering tours all over the UK and Ireland with departures from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, London, and Dublin. Earlier this year Rabbie’s was recognised in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, topping the category for Top 10 Multi-Day Tours – World. Yep, best in the world! Plus, with a number of top five runners up accolades, there’s even more reason to celebrate this landmark year.

So, get your walking shoes on, get that step count up and get yourself in with a chance of bagging a free, award-winning tour experience. As Rabbie Burns himself once said, “Now’s the day and now’s the hour”.

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blog_

British Airways has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons again this week, testing brand loyalty as it manages the fall out from a huge systems breach that saw the personal financial data of nearly 400,000 customers hacked. 

It’s another instance that reaffirms the perception that being a loyal BA customer is nowadays a test of fortitude. We’ve got used to operational glitches, delays and even paying for our own food onboard, or to check in luggage. Despite the grumbling, we’ve just accepted them as part and parcel of flying now.  Even last years’ IT meltdown – stranding thousands and causing weeks of disruption – has largely been forgiven, or at least forgotten.

When it comes to our personal data, we rightly feel differently. It’s more invasive, more personal. Brands get stuff wrong, but we expect them to treat today’s most precious commercial commodity – data – as if it were their own. Sure, strip away all of the things that used to make you great, we can learn to live without them. But if you’re cutting back there, don’t cut back on the stuff that really counts. In BA’s case, that means keeping the planes on time and in the air, and customer data under lock and key. 

When crises like the one BA has been managing occur, brands can – and do – make matters far worse, very quickly. Speed, responsibility and complete transparency are key to stopping the tumor of whatever the initial failing was becoming inoperable as it spreads across the whole body of the organisation.

So it was edifying to see the full-page ads BA took out within 48 hours to apologise for the breach, and the proactive communications approach it took through the media and its social channels in that intervening period. Their messages were factual and with no attempt to defer responsibility, measured, informative and frequent as it sought to reassure customers about what it is doing to manage the issue – and what steps they needed to take if they were concerned. It’s been evident that as an organisation, BA has learnt some hard lessons. They’ll need to maintain that focus in the coming weeks if they’re to restore customers’ faith. 

Sometimes, organisations bring on a crisis through their own misjudgments, on other occasions, the crisis is brought to them. However, what has happened is quickly superseded in importance – at least in the short term – by how you respond. In this case, BA’s swift action, humility and honesty – with the lingering love for the brand itself – will be enough for it to pull through.

Until the next time, that is.


^phil b
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