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Old 06-07-2010, 09:25 AM
Bob Reynolds Bob Reynolds is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Paragould, AR or on m/v MAGNOLIA
Posts: 1,418
Blog Entries: 4

Amen, Judy. As we old-timers have mentioned several times in the past (and I still refuse to believe it is not true), Betty and Muster knew what they were doing when it came to marketing the boats. Like anything else, though, it is WORK. Cultivate travel agents, have a "Don Deming" to travel and promote the boats, get the mainstream press on your side.

Pricing for the American steamboats has never been cheap. Jim Reising wonders in another thread about why this country cannot support boats while other countries can. I think the reasons are several: First, many people don't think in terms of "American" when they think of a cruise, or think that a European or Chinese cruise would be more exotic. Second, the boats here are all-American -- built here, inspected here, crewed by Americans. Between what Americans expect to be paid (whether it be boat crews, shipyard workers, etc.) and the laws that are in place here (limited work hours, licensing issues, etc.) costs are simply more expensive here.

Obviously the company(s) made money in the past, at least at times, since they decided the market was there to build and operate more boats. Greed was certainly a factor in this latest way of operating, pricing, etc., but even not knowing much about the business end of things, I see that to make a profit they must have to charge higher prices than competitors from other countries.

I still think marketing is the key. During WWII, Tom Greene marketed the GCG to those who had money to travel but could not go overseas. He was so successful he had to buy the DQ to meet the demands of the public. Betty and Muster marketed the boat to middle America in many ways, and the DELTA QUEEN became world famous. Of course they never turned down "affluent" passengers, but tried to make riding the boat an attainable dream for middle-class folks. Looks to me like it worked until people forgot that strategy.
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