Key Satisfaction Drivers for Cruise Line Passengers


Cruise lines get a LOT of feedback. On a seven-day cruise, a typical guest would interact with over 40 employees and have over 200 guest experiences in places like the dining room, casino, front desk, stateroom, spa, and excursions. Of course some experiences are better than others.  A customer experience management company like Coyle Hospitality Group will tell you that each and every touch point matters, but in reality, which ones matter most to the passenger?



To provide cruise clients with unparalleled market research and competitive set analysis, Coyle embarked on a project leveraging two proprietary methodologies: large-scale market research of its panel of independent professional global and demographically-matched evaluators and selectively targeting our network of independent professional affluent travelers to provide field market intelligence.

The first part of the project entailed a survey of over 1,500 cruise passengers about their likeliness to recommend their most recent experience to family, friends, or colleagues. Each response was read by a Coyle analyst, creating a dynamic scorecard of loyalty drivers. Coyle was able to  identify areas within F&B, Facility/Public Areas, and Overall Atmosphere that had the most impact on negative cruise experiences. These were the drivers that were mentioned the most in the low-scoring responses, most negatively affecting the overall experience.

Interestingly, F&B was on both the negative and positive list of drivers. This means when done correctly, F&B comments drove the most rave reviews and was the reason most people recommended their experiences. But when problems occurred, F&B also had the most potential to negative affect experiences. Along with these positive/negative drivers, Coyle discovered that Boarding, Departure, and Entertainment—while often the source of complaints—did little to affect the overall likeliness to recommend.

Coyle then took its proprietary set of cruise measurement metrics, distilling over 3,000 data points into the most meaningful 450 as learned from the market research above, and went out to the field to garner market intelligence. This meant Coyle had in their possession a high valuable and effective measurement scorecard for the entire cruise experience.

Once the drivers were fully classified and weighted accordingly from the loyalty research, Coyle leveraged its network of over 10,000 independent professional global evaluators. In any given week, at least one evaluator is aboard a cruise. Coyle reached out to these evaluators with existing cruises booked and offered them and opportunity to perform custom field research for the client while on board. The evaluators effectively evaluated these global cruises, resulting in relevant data from over 125 individual sailings.


The results provided clients with an accurate and meaningful comparison against the industry. For example, Recognition, Value, Satisfaction Assessment, and Anticipating Needs were the collective areas lacking across the industry. Comparing North American sailings against European showed that one had much higher Presentation, Entertainment Quality, and Brand compared to the other.

Coyle’s clients received personalized analysis in every touch point, allowing managers to identify actionable steps in achieving benchmark figures. In cases where the cruise line exceeded the industry averages, Coyle showed them what to continually monitor to ensure they retain their position.

Ultimately, Coyle’s clients had highly effective and actionable insights for competitive market intelligence. Coyle is proud to be the secret weapon for its clients and continually innovates cruise benchmarking tools for the industry.

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