Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A different (optimistic) view

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

  • Franz Neumeier
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jim Herron
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • David Dewey
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • R. Dale Flick
    replied
    *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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jim Herron
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • Mary Sward Charlton
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Richard Weisenberger
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • David Vrooman
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Judy Patsch
    replied
    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).

    Leave a comment:


  • Tom Schiffer
    replied
    I hear you Judy, but what DID get you to part with coin that very first time? I, like Shipyard, am not so sure that the boomers would not be enthusiastic participants IF they knew or could be shown what they were missing. You as a teacher might know if the kids now are even reading Mark Twain or even know who he was. I do not believe that human nature has changed all that much...mostly the things competing for their time, attention and money! Cap'n Walnut

    Leave a comment:


  • Judy Patsch
    replied
    "Them as has been raised on TV, glitz, high speed chases, explosions, smoke, lasers, computers, "Reality" TV, lotsa skin in Vagas, screeching tires and all? "
    Well, Capn Walnut, that may be an overview of the Boomer generation, but speaking as one from the very first year of that generation, yes I've had TV since I was 5 and I am basic computer-literate, but the rest of the stuff you named is not part of my being. That's the trick - to find those people who are outside the generalization of a generation. I know I'm not the only one, and I'm sure the number is quite large, but how to reach them... glitzy brochures with beautiful models instead of real passengers isn't one way, and neither are swans instead of eagles - that's for sure!

    Leave a comment:


  • Richard Weisenberger
    replied
    And we must not forget the sounds. Where else outside of a few collectors can one still hear a genuine steam whistle or steam calliope? Few people today even know the real difference between a steam whistle and common air horn! That's a sad comment on the current generation. I would hate to see the sound of the steam whistle pass by forever!

    We all know here that there is a big difference between the sound of the 10" Lunkenheimer chime whistle on the Delta Queen and that of a chime air horn on a towboat. I, for one would like to keep that sound on our rivers. If I'm not the only one who feels passionate about this, please feel free to "chime" in. David Dewey, for one, knows exactly how I feel about this.

    We have been very lucky to have riverboats such as the Delta, Mississippi and American Queens spreading their music along America's inland waterways. Now, apparently we have already lost the opportunity to keep the sound of steam whistles on our rivers unless the current administration can modify the safety at sea law to exclude historic riverboats on inland waterways, such as the Delta Queen.

    There are a few steam excursion locomotives still running, but their numbers are also dwindling. I moderate a group all about steam whistles and they are indeed a very rare sight and sound these days. We educate our members on their history and design. We get together for occasional whistle blows throughout the country, but few people outside of our 720+ members are aware of these events. I invite everyone who is interested in preserving the sound of the steam whistle to check us out. Our goal is to bring awareness of the steam whistle and its technology back to the general public. You will find our steam whistle group listed in the links. We have a similar link back to this group.

    The good thing is that when I began moderating the steam whistle group several years ago we were at a mere 60+ members, mostly from an air horn dominated group, where steam whistles were only a sideline. We have since experienced a twelvefold growth in our membership! We specialize only in steam whistles and have already surpassed the membership of the combined horn/whistle group by well over 100 members. This is proof that there are those interested in learning more about how to make the sounds of the past, of which riverboats were a very important part. A growing number of our members are now designing their own steam whistles.

    Leave a comment:


  • R. Dale Flick
    replied
    *RE: 'Niche market/Louisville's luxe rail Co.'*
    Steamboating colleagues:
    Very interesting insights above on 'niche marketing' with 'baby boomers' entering the golden years/marketing river cruises. May not be 'pure steamoats' but a 'to the trade' squib arrived here this morning announcing Mr. Owen C. Hardys Louisville, KY based 'Society of International Railway Travelers' discussing his "international luxury, first-class and steam rail' company as a 'niche operation.' Mr. Hardy as CEO said his top seller is a 15-day 'Across Siberia by Private Train aboard the 'Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express' with the per-person rate at $15,795. All taking into account the client's "personality type." Travel companies working with Mr. Hardy must provide either a valid IATAN or CLIA card, a letter on company letterhead and a signed W-9 form. I would assume this company also deals with other rail brands in the 'niche market' known as 'Great Railway Journeys of the World.'

    The niche market appeals to, "...a person who, just a bit, marches to a different drummer, has traveled widely and is looking for something unique and different." In my time Russian rail travel got you there but needed much sprucing up for an expanding market. I recall being on the 'Red Arrow Express' with Russian army soldiers coming aboard at stations to monitor the train and passengers. When passing certain sensitive locations they drew the train curtains and bellowed, "Nyet photographien." Shipyard is correct in his summation of the work Betty Blake, Bill Muster, Capt. Wagner and company accomplished with the DQ in their time. Betty spoke just before her death at the PRSA meeting here on the DQ stating, "Understand the unique appeal of the DELTA QUEEN and take her for what she is."

    *You may be able to access 'Society of International Railway Travelers' at:
    The Society of International Railway Travelers: Luxury, steam, first-class train tours or Tel: 1-(502)-454-0277 Some of our Louisville posters on .org may know about this company.

    Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bob Reynolds
    replied
    Cap'n Walnut, I agree with you 100%! Jim is right that it is the boat itself. But my friends used to ask me, "What do you DO on there?", and they could not imagine it. It's like CW Stoll used to say about the river and the boats in general -- "Either you 'get it' or you don't". And you can forget trying to translate that into advertising.

    Many of us oldsters remember the old legal-size tri-fold "brochures" from the 1970's. They had a little note "from Capt. Wagner" (I doubt it was really he who said it) and that brochure fired me up so much more than the thick magazines they sent out in later years. Can you make money with the folks who find "less is more" in the brochures? I doubt it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tom Schiffer
    replied
    Jim: I think that you are right but going back to what Franz sez...this is a relatively new market...Bruno sez this is the baby-boomers ripening into retirement...how are we, you, they, going to reach them? Them as has been raised on TV, glitz, high speed chases, explosions, smoke, lasers, computers, "Reality" TV, lotsa skin in Vagas, screeching tires and all? I would speculate that the boomers' generation and those since pretty much view the DQ as the absolute icon of "squaresville". Something like the old 1918 song: "How you gonna keep em down on the farm after they've see Pariee?" A sunrise on the river might do it with the mists rising into the slanting rays of the sun...a lilting calliope concert bouncing around in a lock chamber and making your very toes happy..a sonorous steam whistle that can enter your ears, stand you hair on end and shake the very timbers of your soul? Or a simple "Good Mawnin'" from a grinning crew member who really means it? And, yeah, Jim, you've done more than your part capturing some of that stuff and turning it loose on U-tube. But it does not condense very well into a piece of paper. How did you all get hooked into doing it? Parting with what is big money to most of us? Spouse? work on the boat? Dragged on as a kid? Saw the Queen somewhere? This is the kind of stuff that is poorly understood on Madison Avenue and absolutely necessary in my opinion to reach the newbies. What happens to all that information that is gathered via questionaire at the end of the trip? Any body here ever get a chance to read them? Cap'n Walnut

    Leave a comment:

ADVERTISEMENT
Working...
X