International Women’s Day (March 8) and China’s Girls’ Day (March 7), created to celebrate the achievement of women and call for gender equality, have increasingly become a lucrative opportunity for luxury goods and services providers in China to woo wealthy female consumers. Luxury cruise firm Star Cruises, a subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong as well as the world’s third largest cruise line, is going all out this year by unveiling a slew of events and services onboard flagship SuperStar Virgo to welcome Chinese female luxury travelers. Star Cruises’ move was in line with the company’s bullish bet on China’s cruise industry, as Lim Kok Thay, the chairman of its parent company Genting, said in a recent interview that he anticipated a market of 5 million passengers.
Throughout the month of March, female guests who onboard flagship SuperStar Virgo can enjoy a series of tailor-made events in honor of “femininity and inner and outer beauty.” The offerings range from agarwood-themed staterooms where guests can experience oriental aromatherapy, to “cheongsam and jade” tea parties, to a number of enrichment seminars, such as floral arrangement and incense appreciation classes. Female guests who book the agarwood-themed staterooms during the event period only pay at regular oceanview stateroom prices. They also can attend tea parties if they are interested in cheongsam fashion, and will have a chance to win jade jewelry and modern cheongsam. Several workshops led by top model Wang Yiyi on how to “unleash the inner supermodel” through intensive training of physical movement, facial expressions, grooming and photogenic skills are available to female guests, too.
The diversity and versatility of events offered by SuperStar Virgo reflect Star Cruises’ understanding of a special demographic — China’s upper middle class women, who are affluent, well-educated, international, and pursue a luxurious lifestyle, paying close attention to etiquette and public conduct. These type of events provided by Star Cruises are a value-added experience for cruise-goers.
The tailor-made campaign by Star Cruises also makes it stand out among its rivals, such as Royal Caribbean, which only offers traditional discounts and sales to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Over the last few years, China has experienced a rapid development of its cruise industry, as cruise companies around the world see the country as the future battleground for their business. Many Western cruise lines have already entered the market and have been competing for Chinese consumers in recent years. But in order to grow their businesses organically in China, the chief executive of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) noted the necessity for luxury cruise companies to tailor their onboard offerings specifically to Chinese customers, as they would face a remarkably different landscape and consumer base there.
Star Cruises’ campaign represents the latest push by foreign cruise lines to boost business by making an effort to cater to the lifestyles and demands of Chinese female luxury travelers and build emotional connection through these exclusive activities.