Lindblad uses next-generation digital marketing to fill cruise ships

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Lindblad uses next-generation digital marketing to fill cruise ships

National Geographic Explorer ship. Photo credit: Warren In the Weeds on Flickr. Warren in the Weeds/Flickr

Lindblad Expeditions“Occupancy rose in the first few months of the year thanks to marketing investments paying off with more first-time guests, executives said during a earnings call on Wednesday.

Occupancy hit 81 percent in the first quarter — up from 66 percent a year earlier. Executives attributed this to increased consumer confidence and the return on marketing improvements. They expect occupancy to continue to rise this year, but not to reach pre-pandemic levels for a year to come.

Over the past two years, the cruise and adventure travel company has invested in an omnichannel marketing approach. Previously, marketing consisted primarily of brochures, incorporation letters, direct mail, and targeted emails.

The new investments include digital components such as search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media marketing and advanced analytics. The new approach has resulted in a higher number of first-time guests.

Lindblad’s guest mix for the quarter was more US than foreign. The number of returning guests is growing, but the number of new guests is growing a little faster, said Dolf Berle, CEO of Lindblad Expeditions.

Bookings for 2023 are over 40 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019 for travel in 2020. Cancellations are falling but are still higher than in 2019. Executives attribute this to easing fears about Covid, the introduction stricter cancellation policies and the lifting of the quarantine requirement.

Revenue totaled $143.4 million, an increase of $75.5 million over the prior year. The key revenue drivers were the $65.2 million increase in the Lindblad Tours segment and the $10.3 million increase in the Land Experiences segment.

Net loss for the quarter was $0.4 million, an improvement from a net loss of $43 million for the comparable period last year. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $27.2 million, up $48.4 million from the same period.

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