Celebrity Cruises recently teamed up with Grand Central Marketing to bring the upper deck of a ship to New York City’s Grand Central Station. Focusing on the Lawn Club, an iconic and exclusive membership offer, Celebrity Cruises decided that there was no better way to go than big–and what bigger location could you truly find within Manhattan’s borders? Therefore, a large portion of Vanderbilt Hall was transformed into a mini-deck, filled with everything from lounge seating to a grill rub recipe stand. The place even had a painted sky, which, when mixed with the vaulted ceilings of the hall, made visitors almost feel like they had truly escaped for a split-second.
Through their partnership with Lincoln Center, Celebrity Cruises was able to also bring in some live music to the event, along with presentations from the tourist boards of Bermuda, Greece and the Virgin Islands. The combination of these allowed visitors to not only learn about the destinations, but also visualize some of the live entertainment options as well. More so, there was a VIP reception held before the beginning of the two-day Grand Central event that brought top travel partners and loyalty customers (part of the Captain’s Club) together to mingle, and simultaneously strengthened the brand’s B2B relationships.
The initiative is part of a chain of consumer-focused events set to target ten cities across the country. The tactic was described by Celebrity Cruises representatives as being an intensification campaign, an effort to parachute in and saturate valid markets with the Celebrity brand. This way, Celebrity Cruises hopes to increase reach to some of the wealthier citizens, with NYC obviously offering the largest population of such. Indeed, the goal of the Grand Central initiative was to entice the more affluent NYC dwellers and commuters to stop by and witness for themselves some of the perks experienced aboard the ship.
The event had a digital component, as well; iPads streamlined both visitors’ submissions for the giveaway (which could be entered through the photo tag #celebritychair) and the information process for various cruise options and prices. But it did not stop there. The event itself, although focused on brand awareness and experiential marketing, was also generating sales. The two-day event ran at the same time as a special offer that offered customers a $1,000 discount for 2014 Europe vacations and a $500 discount for 2014 Alaska, Bermuda and Caribbean vacations. And, from what I heard, they were successful in selling various of these packages on the stop–a purchase that one would not consider to be an on-the-spot decision, but for more affluent folks might very well be.
So then it is no surprise that the event came with quality jazz and high prices. Overall, the brand was showcased as one all about culinary activities and high-class lifestyles. The brand wishes to deliver the message that the consumers are the celebrities and what better way to do that then offer them everything and anything–in the middle of the ocean?
The ship is the destination.