Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A different (optimistic) view

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    #31
    First DQ trip

    I had the river background: the AVALON, the rotting WJ QUINLAN, seeing the DQ on her yearly fall UMR trip in my childhood. But oddly enough, I didn't book my first trip. Two college friends of mine, a couple years younger, decided to go and I joined them. Of course, the rest is history: they've never been aboard again and I spent over $40,000 in fares from 1973-83, plus all the other river aspects I've gotten involved in. Yes, there's no problem with the DQ's charm, ONCE you get people on her, but that's the job. I guess my point was just that not everyone of a generation has the same profile and interests, and certainly the boomer generation has still heard of Mark Twain. Beyond that, I'm not so sure. We had a big hubbub around here over teaching Huck Finn, due to the ethnic language used, so I doubt if its in the schools much anymore. One of the things I have railed against forever is the use of the beautiful people, the models, standing and sitting in phony poses in brochures - this goes back to 1979 at least. My point on this is: what do we not-so-beautiful people do if this boat is for those glamorous ones? Where do the ugly ducklings spend their money, not among those swans???? (couldn't resist that one) Of course, the challenge is even greater now, with no boats running that could stir up someone's enthusiasm for taking a trip.... word of mouth, personal 'confessions', are great advertising. Besides my 41 trips, I know that I was responsible for at least 23 other trips being booked over the years, and who knows how many others there were that I'm not aware of? I'm sure that since I retired and started doing more river talks locally, that interest has been stirred in various groups - how much that was translated into bookings, I don't know. IF an owner would work with the national, yes even international, network of DQ 'believers', perhaps a new PR system could be cultivated, going outside the usual TA route(but not abandoning them).

    Comment


      #32
      Bill --

      I certainly don't want to argue with your hypothesis or its underlying reasoning. Your series of comments constitutes probably the most insightful, thorough, and cogently argued analysis that I have read on this board since I began reading it nearly two years ago.

      I am retiring in May. If you are growing weary of the bicycling business, would you like to come to beautiful Springfield, Ohio (motto: "We aren't nearly so bad as Youngstown") and teach business policy at Wittenberg University ("the Harvard of West Central Ohio")?

      Dave V.

      Comment


        #33
        I am a "boomer" myself, being born in 1950. I have a deep appreciation for old technology. I spent years researching but a single aspect of it; exactly how various design factors relate to performance in organ pipes and steam whistles. This research paid off in a number of patents on two entirely new classes of whistles, suitable as more effective replacements to current warning sirens.
        Toroidal shaped closed chamber whistle - Google Patents

        Toroidal whistle - Google Patents

        I may not be typical of others in my age group, but believe me, there are plenty more out there that feel the same way. I believe there is much to be learned from studying the past and trying to improve on it as opposed to going off on a tangent in a totally unrelated direction. This is what Generation X and Generation Y have done. Everything has gone electronic or become nothing more than a computer application.

        It's not so much the "boomers" we need to reach, but those in Generation X, who have never even heard of things such as records, turntables, 8 tracks, 8 mm film, etc. Most have never heard a concert that wasn't amplified. Forget about anything to do with any technical aspect of a riverboat. They would say "Let's get rid of all this junk and replace it with a diesel engine." and "I now don't have any way to power that steam whistle. Let's replace it with an air horn." Truth is there is a way around that.

        Even desktop computers and landline phones are old hat to Generation Y, as they are all into iphones, texting and ultra miniaturization. These people wouldn't know a steam whistle if they were looking right at one. I once heard of a young person seeing a calliope being played and asked "where are the speakers?". These are the people we need to be reaching. I say we reach them by speaking a universal language, that of science and math.

        Comment


          #34
          I ran across the March/April issue of Cruise Travel magazine, which has an editorial on why there are no boats on the Mississippi this season (except, they say, for the Niagara Prince, operating two 14-night itineraries). Their opinion? The boats themselves: no climbing walls, etc., for the boomers; and an identity crisis for that part of the country. By this they mean that region should come together and market themselves, giving support as a destination for river cruising, and notes that British Columbia and the Baltic suffered from the same problem. They need to create "a picture, a voice, or a definition of what the experience is."
          I have always said (prior to this economy!) that we could fill the boats easily with a little marketing in Europe. Mark Twain is so closely identified around the world with the paddlewheelers. They could sell themselves around the world.
          But let me bring you back, once more, to the real problem: no exemption, no COI, no Delta Queen. I--and many of you--have been out there on the front lines, fighting. It has not happened. That boat cannot run without close to her full passenger load, and make money. She can't do this without her exemption. It is all moot without her COI.

          Comment


            #35
            Being born in 1942, I am one of the baby boomers. Now, I know that most of my peers have never been "aware" of the river other than crossing it on bridges here and there and in dealing with occasional floods. But there are many who are aware. For me, it probably began in 1947 when my grandmother took me aboard the DQ when is was open for public inspection. I didn't go aboard again until 2002 for a short trip from NOLA to Baton Rouge. However, that was enough. As has been said by others, "Step one foot aboard and she will steal your heart". I did and she did. Same with my wife and also with a couple we know in Louisville that I attended college with.

            However, most of the baby boomers were into doo-wop music and all the other things associated with the '50's while I was into jazz and big bands. And so it is with each peer group. It was those adolescent years when life was far more simple that we think of as nostalgic. Perhaps some cruises could be structured around that style of entertainment. Same with other forms of music: country, maybe even classical. All have their following. I know that specifically themed cruises have been offered over they years. How do they do as a draw? But leave the rap, hip-hop or heavy metal garbage to the glitzy ships that look like half melted bars of soap.

            Remember, we're talking about 174 passengers at a time plus the lack of space available on competing boats, assuming the AQ stays out of service. Seems pretty doable to me.

            But then, the exemption and the COI remain the first priority, along with finding a buyer/operator.
            -JH

            Comment


              #36
              *RE: 'Baby boomers/Better check first.'*
              Hi, Jim & Richard:
              Been a long day here. I'm not sure about your dates for 'Baby boomers' but I 'think' Jim Herron and I are a bit too old to fit that frame with 1942 or even before..YIKES!. 'Boomers' came 1946 and after. Richard may be coming on line in 1950. We need to check this out for the record as the Feds tend to change the dates periodically. Whatever, that was a L-O-N-G time ago now. My additional SS checks started coming in several years ago.

              Well, what do I know?

              Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

              Comment


                #37
                Some marketing phrases. . .

                This is rough, but here's some ideas:

                A trip on the Delta Queen through America’s Heartland. . .
                It’s not your “Ordinary” cruise. When you step on board the Delta Queen, you leave the modern land world behind. While other ships try to look like the grand salons of old, the Delta Queen IS a Grand Salon of old! Discover why the Delta Queen has the highest number of repeat passengers of any vessel in the world! Come on a cruise with us and fall in love with the Legendary One, The Delta Queen; America’s Riverboat. The Steam Whistle is calling you to an adventure on America’s Great Rivers.

                Comment


                  #38
                  Well, Dale, you sure know more than I do, or did. Here's the official tally: "During the baby boomer years, 1946-1964 (inclusive), 75.8 million Americans were born."

                  And all this time, I thought I was one. Oh well,I guess I AM gettin' old. Anyway, out of 75.8 million, there oughta be no problem selling boat tickets @ 174 per week or so. But that does make my brother one (1946) and my wife, too (1947).
                  -JH

                  Comment


                    #39
                    David, that's it in essence :-) In my opinion it's very important to not talk too much about a "cruise" at all, which always compares the DQ to the ocean cruise ships which have nothing in common with the Delta Queen. She needs to be marketed outside the "cruise" category. That makes it a challenge though: to have travel agents with the right attitude (and knowledge) who understand that selling a DQ cruise is nothing you try to sell as alternative to a sea cruise but to a totally different audience.

                    Comment


                      #40
                      That sounds great David! Greene Line used to use the phrase "Steam Powered Time Machine".

                      Comment


                        #41
                        Theme cruises

                        Originally posted by Jim Herron View Post

                        However, most of the baby boomers were into doo-wop music and all the other things associated with the '50's while I was into jazz and big bands. And so it is with each peer group. It was those adolescent years when life was far more simple that we think of as nostalgic. Perhaps some cruises could be structured around that style of entertainment. Same with other forms of music: country, maybe even classical. All have their following. I know that specifically themed cruises have been offered over they years. How do they do as a draw? But leave the rap, hip-hop or heavy metal garbage to the glitzy ships that look like half melted bars of soap.
                        -JH
                        As most know, the MQ had regular big band cruises, with Russ Morgan's Band directed by son Jack, the Guy Lombardo Orchestra with Al Pierson among the regulars. The MQ also had more theme cruises I believe, than the DQ.
                        Something many of you may not know, but our DQ fanatic Pat Traynor went on her first DQ trip not for the boat, but for the Civil War program that trip. It would seem to me that Civil War groups, of which there are many, would be a good focal point of advertising/communication, as would many historical based groups. Of course, we are getting the cart before the horse in talking about promoting a boat which cannot cruise at this time, but the point is to any potential buyers that there are avenues of possibility to tap for potential customers. If a potential buyer would be willing to go outside the normal routine and use crew and passengers as consultants rather than Madison Avenue, they would be well-served.
                        Something else which had fallen by the wayside is charter trips - that was my first trip in 1973, chartered by State Bank of East Moline Travel. They chartered about 8 trips a year for 5 or so years. National Trust always had one. AAA used to charter, and so on. What about AARP today? Our local Plus 60 group charters the TWILIGHT yearly. With the right promoting, it could get enough for the DQ. And remember what Jim said, we're talking 174 spaces to fill, not 1000...

                        Comment


                          #42
                          I always liked the big canvas banner that was attached across the sun deck railing at the stern above the wheel proclaiming "VOYAGES TO AMERICA". I don't remember whether that was one of Betty Blake's ideas or not, but it was used in a lot of advertising.

                          Comment


                            #43
                            I believe Bob hit the nail on the head. The DQ needs to be marketed in the same manner as the Greene Line originally did as a "Steam Powered Time Machine", possibly with a modern twist. Sometimes you have to look back to see forward. I have always believed in looking back to come up with new ideas. Those old concepts can be expanded upon and given new life. They don't have to remain static. What's really hard is coming up with something totally different and keeping it relevant.


                            Originally posted by Bob Reynolds View Post
                            That sounds great David! Greene Line used to use the phrase "Steam Powered Time Machine".

                            Comment


                              #44
                              Theme Cruises

                              Theme cruises were always a lot of fun on the AQ. We had Civil War, Big Band, Jazz, 50's Nostalgia, etc. Lots of pax, lots of interest. But those kinds of cruises, especially big band, would be impractical on the DQ, I think, for a few simple reasons.

                              1. Not enough room in the Orleans.

                              2. Where are 16 musicians going to sleep?

                              3. How would you cover the cost of paying Jack Morgan and Al Pierson and their bands?

                              4. Also, with a big band cruise, you usually get dance hosts - some more cabins gone.

                              Paul

                              Comment


                                #45
                                Voyages to America

                                Since that banner was on the stern sundeck railing from 1973 through 1978, I'll bet it was Betty's idea. And the brochures used that idea too. Come TO America, not away from it. Certainly would be a good angle in today's world situation!

                                Comment

                                ADVERTISEMENT
                                Working...
                                X