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What is luxury? I am fairly confident that if you asked 100 people, you would get 100 different answers. To some, it would be having the time to appreciate the small things in life. To others, it would be related to space and freedom, whilst others might describe luxury simply as the ability to indulge in the consumption of material goods. If even defining the word luxury is hard enough, imagine trying to find a phrase or description that successfully describes luxury travel – well, I can tell you now, it is almost impossible.

Last week, Siren Comms_ was invited to the first ever TTG Luxury Summit to cover current trends and opportunities in luxury travel, putting a wide range of topics under the spotlight to challenge the sector on what it needs to do to stay relevant in an ever-changing environment.

 

The full day’s itinerary mixed thought-provoking keynote sessions from the likes of Ben Fogle, Elegant Resorts’ Lisa Fitzell, Lydia Forte of Rocco Forte Hotels and Dr Antonia Ward, plus moderated panel debates and interactive audience sessions. For the first time in this format, the event was held in association with Siren’s client Celebrity Cruises as headline sponsor – all part of the build up towards the launch of their first new ship for 10 years, and the maritime embodiment of the concept of ‘modern luxury, Celebrity Edge, just weeks away.




The main findings, trends and updates from the day can be seen below, with the most important point for luxury businesses being the need for adaptation – change is the only thing that is inevitable!

 

Summary: 

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots will take over elements of the travel industry, but the human touch, and insider knowledge, that luxury travel customers demand – and which luxury agents can offer – will be hard to entirely replace.
  • Choose content and storytelling over advertising – it evokes a stronger emotional response in the consumer
  • Luxury travel has nothing to do with age, culture, gender, it is a mind-set
  • Embracing a digital delivery doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the personal touch


Our advice to clients and industry advocates is to remember that while the 21st Century definition of luxury means it isn’t what it used to be, it would seem that people are far more driven by personal events and experiences now than material objects. So an industry like ours that trades in the creation of experience should capitalise on the advantage it has.

Jenna Osborne

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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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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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