When Orlando Ashford assumed the presidency of Holland America Line (HAL) two years ago, his first major decision was to axe the onboard disco concept, bowing to the reality that it was, by then, way past its sell-by date, reports Montreal editor, Mike Dunbar in this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier.
Now he’s on a mission to broaden the line’s appeal to a multi-generational audience through a series of “innovative concepts” featured on the line’s eight-month-old flagship vessel – the 99,500-ton, 2,650-guest Koningsdam.
Holland America has long enjoyed a reputation as a floating haven for an older, well-heeled market segment but Ashford is determined to take his Carnival Corporation brand into new demographic waters.
Only thing is, he doesn’t like the term “demographic” and its age-constricting connotation. Instead, he says he wants to extend the line’s appeal to a broader “psychographic.”
On the Koningsdam’s recent North American maiden voyage ex-Fort Lauderdale, Ashford explained:
“When you have a company with a 144-year history, you take what made us successful – classic style, good food, wine and ambience, as well as 400-plus destinations around the world – and you give it a modern twist.”
He said: “You still do what you’ve always done well but you expand your appeal to a wider audience which might not have considered you before. We want to appeal to those who have already been with us, as well as those who want something new.”
“I don’t want to get caught up in the age issue because it’s all about the psychographic whether you’re 16 or 60,” Ashford stated, explaining, “It comes down to attitude and mindset.”
Ashford was speaking during a lunch at Sel de Mer, one of the new dining concepts premiering on the Pinnacle Class vessel.
He said: “I’m proud of Koningsdam and what she’s offering, as well as the fact that this ship is a tangible reflection of where Holland America Line is going in the future.”
For the full story, sail on over to this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier by clicking here.