The Pandemic has not been kind to the cruise liner industry, with many leisure vessels still laying empty after 18 months. Nevertheless, with Covid-19 in retreat, many cruise line operators are looking forward to a surge in demand in 2022. And with the return of passengers comes the delicate game of inventory management – a more complex task for cruise liners than for land-based hospitality providers.
The Challenge of Inventory Management For Cruise Ships
For customers, a multi-day cruise holiday is more than a means of travelling from A to B, and many expect an extensive range of ‘little extras’, without which the establishment would be unfavourably compared to competitors.
Cruise ships are brimming with commodities that need constant renewal. The product manifests of major cruisers often contain over 12,000 product types, from steaks and sushi, to bed linen, towels, clothing, cleaning products, and tableware. Consequently, inventory management can be extremely challenging, especially as physical analysis and supply forecasting has to be conducted to coincide with overnight resupply stays in port.
From refreshment and toiletries in each cabin for every day at sea, to sufficient drinks in the bar and provisions for daily housekeeping, demand has to be meticulously forecasted in advance. Everything must be available to hand. There is no opportunity to top up your inventory at sea if supplies have been underestimated, and overstocking a cruise ship can be extremely wasteful in terms of space and resources. With many product lines to keep continually restocked at various ports of call, and demand for berths likely to fluctuate throughout the year, efficient inventory management is essential to reinforce your cruise liner’s reputation as a safe and opulent holiday provider.
How Cruise Liner Inventory Management Software Can Yield Profitable Results
There are two facets associated with inventory management in the leisure cruise sector: increasing revenues, by anticipating and managing demand, and optimising delivery schedules – ensuring that all supplies are gathered at port and ready to embark, according to the ship’s itinerary. Understanding the seasonal nature of the industry and taking advantage of spikes in demand is central to effective inventory management.
Demand forecasting and inventory management work hand-in-hand, to predict cycles of resource demand at different stages of the cruise and throughout the year, so that prices can be adjusted accordingly. In peak periods, holiday prices can be set to maximise income, while in low season – or when attracting customers back to the liner after the Pandemic – prices can be discounted to ensure greater occupancy. Dynamic pricing is an important tool to control rates according to demand, ensuring that profits are maximised whatever the season.
Cruise ship inventory management software can support a liner in accessing business intelligence, to plan spending on stock, reduce waste and ensure greater control over resource management while at sea. Planning for increased occupancy is essential to ensure that stock levels are maintained in line with demand, avoiding embarrassing stock shortages. Also, effective inventory management can support cruise ship procurement managers to select vendors in different supply destinations based on their reliability, availability, and cost, and ensure each vendor delivers goods to port on time.
Arrange a Free Demo Today
An inventory management system is essential for the smooth operation of any cruise liner. For a free demo to see how it could benefit your business, please get in touch today.
Image Source: Pixabay