In the Fall of 2017, Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria swept through the Caribbean, leaving major damage and destruction in their wake, marking the most devastating and expensive hurricane season in the region’s history. Day after day, media stories showed jarring images of the storms’ horrific aftermath. But what those stories didn’t show was almost just as detrimental as the hurricanes themselves – that the majority of the area was unharmed, and the perception that the entire region was closed had the potential to keep travelers from visiting the area’s one million square miles, all of which heavily depend on tourism.
The cruise industry, which brings more than eight million tourists to the region each year, immediately experienced the fallout from the perception of the storms’ devastation with numerous cancellations and fewer bookings. The Caribbean is the largest region for cruising and a single cruise season generates $2.4 billion for the region, 55,000 jobs and $842 million in wages. Without cruise travelers, the economies of many of these destinations would be in jeopardy, including those islands that were impacted by the storms and in desperate need of capital for rebuilding efforts.
Carnival Corporation knew that it would take a sustained, thoughtful and unified effort across many organizations to turn the tide. So, the company and LDWW teamed with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) to rally an integrated group of cruise lines, industry associations, media partners and loyal cruisers with a united mission – provide support to the handful of islands that suffered damage and were working to recover, while spreading awareness amongst media, influencers and consumers that beyond those few islands, the Caribbean was very much OPEN FOR BUSINESS.
The campaign won multiple PR industry awards and was honored as one of the world’s Top 40 campaigns by The Holmes Report. Results included:
- Media Results:The campaign to ensure coverage of the region accurately portrayed the situation in the Caribbean drove over 14,000 placements with impressions totaling over SEVEN BILLION.
- Perception Changes:Prior to the campaign, only 61 percent of consumers were aware that the Caribbean was largely undamaged and open. After a week of the campaign, perception rose to 63 percent. And after one month, it was up to nearly 80 percent – a 19-point jump following sustained campaign efforts.
- Financial Performance:Carnival Corporation’s business in the Caribbean in the fourth quarter of 2017 resulted in better than expected results and higher yields. The early sales figures for 2018 in the Caribbean included an increase in sales volume at higher yields than the previous year during the same period.
- Industry/Regional Impacts:In a matter of months, the integrated, industry-wide campaign execution contributed to restored traveler confidence, stimulated demand, and stabilized volume and bookings in the Caribbean.