Sunday, 13 April 2014

Norovirus outbreaks said to hurt cruise industry’s image

Norovirus outbreaks said to hurt cruise industry’s image

By Tom Stieghorst
Cruise ship deckOutbreaks of norovirus early this year on several cruise ships, including Explorer of the Seas, led to a decline in the trust in cruising and intent to purchase a cruise, according to a Harris poll.

The consumer polling company released an update of its research last year that showed a decline in the industry’s image after the widely publicized Carnival Triumph fire.

Harris said polling done Feb. 10-14 found that perceptions were trending upwards in January, although still below levels before the Triumph incident. But the norovirus outbreaks reversed those gains.

Harris said the average perceived quality score for the cruise industry was down 11% compared with before the Triumph incident, with trust down 12% and purchase intent down 13%.

The seven brands in the survey all declined in at least one of the measures after the norovirus incidents, and most were down from pre-Triumph levels to begin with.

“We’ve all heard the saying that a rising tide lifts all boats,” says Deana Percassi, vice president and public relations research consultant for Nielsen, which acquired Harris in February. “But the inverse also holds true. In a field as crowded as the cruise industry, bad press for a small handful of brands — or even a single one — can have negative repercussions for major players across the board.”