Head of Marketing is Mike Hall who has been with CMV since the start. Mike has a wealth of experience in the travel industry as a travel agent, call centre manager, training, sales and marketing. We ask Mike about how he sees the CMV cruise product.
Q As a marketing man, how do you make sure that CMV stands out from the crowd and what do you feel is its USP (unique selling point)?
We specialise in offering no-fly cruising holidays with convenient departures from a wide range of UK ports. Our smaller sized classic and more traditional style ships provide a more leisurely and friendly ‘home from home’ style of cruising. These vessels are accessible to more interesting and remote ports of call making our itineraries the top reason for guests choosing to book with CMV.
Q What is the biggest challenge of your role?
The cruise market is highly competitive, so having a clear but flexible strategy is important and then staying focused and organised to ensure that it is delivered on time. Marketing these days is a bit like spinning plates with so many different mediums. Digital marketing via computer, tablet and smart phone means that we can now deliver news and offers instantly when compared with more traditional print based advertising.
Q Having been with CMV since the beginning, what do you think have been its biggest successes?
After just four years, CMV has carried over 170,000 passengers and clearly established itself as a significant player in the ex- UK, no-fly cruise market and no less than 95% of our guests have rated the enjoyment of their cruise experience either excellent orgood. CMV is one of a handful of cruise lines nominated for the prestigious ‘Favourite Cruise Line’ at the Globe Travel Awards for three consecutive years.
Two top journalists have received awards for features about Marco Polo cruises at the Cruise Lines International Association Travel Journalism Awards,
CMV is now established internationally with offices in the USA and Australia and developing new opportunities in the growing German cruise market.
Q And what have been your most memorable moments?
Seeing Marco Polo in Tilbury on 2nd January 2010 with her new CMV livery was the culmination of months of work launching a new cruise brand. I was fortunate to sail on her inaugural cruise and felt very proud to be there as we sailed into a plethora of Caribbean islands. In May 2012, CMV was the first cruise line to use the new turnaround cruise terminal at Liverpool. Lady Derby joined dignitaries and VIPs aboard Ocean Countess for a civic event which started a new era in passenger shipping for the city.
Q What is your own favourite feature of the line?
Every time I sail on one of our ships I remind myself of how convenient it is to start from a local convenient port; easy parking, no cases to handle and no lengthy queues. Your holiday starts the moment you step on board. Sailing along a European river, through a majestic fjord, or by Scottish islands, the views from one of our classic style ships are breathtaking. This is a true cruising experience not always possible on today’s mega resort ships.
Q You’re someone who’s light on their feet. Tell us about your dancing prowess and appearance on TV’s original Come Dancing show.
I have danced since the age of 10 and competed internationally winning several championship titles. In fact, I appeared on the original Come Dancing representing Home Counties South. Age is beginning to catch up but it’s still a great pastime. It keeps me fit and it’s a great way to switch off from a hectic schedule.