HAL-LO friends: Holland America Line Brand Analysis

Today we have a brand analysis on Holland America Line (HAL) for Dutch-American Friendship Day! It functions as a follow-up on our previous analysis of White Star Line, which shows what would not work anymore in today’s world. In fact, WSL’s successor is Cunard Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation (world’s largest leisure travel company), just like HAL. HAL is a premium cruise line with a fleet of 11 ships, offering more than 500 cruises.

Fast facts 

  • Name: Holland America Line
  • Type: Subsidiary
  • Parent company: Carnival Corporation & plc (since 1989)
  • Origin: Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • Founding year: 1873 (148 years ago)
  • Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, US
  • Key people: Jan Swartz (CEO), Gustavo Antorcha (President)
  • Key stakeholders: Employees, suppliers, customers, investors, government agencies, and more.
  • Revenue: $2.5 billion in 2021 Q2
  • Brand design company: We First
  • Areas served: All seven continents.

Branding strategies

HAL has a webpage dedicated towards their mission and values to define their brand. Firstly, their service credo, “We are ambassadors of joy – in service to our guests and to one another.”. Secondly, a list of core values, such as to “Safeguard Ourselves and Our Environment” and to be “Curious and Ever-Evolving”.

In order to evolve its brand image, HAL created a new brand campaign in 2016. According to one of their blog posts, they introduced a new logo, tagline, and advertising campaign. New advertising methods include both local-market and national television commercials, and they reach the audience through different channels.

The campaign seems like a positive next step for the company. However, comments with mixed opinions can be found under the blog post. Some think it’s refreshing that they steer away from the old-fashioned logo. Yet, the majority share they’re disappointed that the new logo has no trace left of its past or traditions.

Differentiation

Premium cruise lines operate in a competitive category, and they cater more for mature travellers and older generational families. One of HAL’s biggest premium line competitors would be Celebrity Cruises, so we’ll make a short comparison.

First, HAL’s prices are lower, and with both being similar in food and cabins, it gives HAL the advantage. However, HAL’s passengers are generally in their 50s to 70s, while Celebrity Cruises averages 40s to early 50s. That being said, HAL also wants to position the brand as a suitable choice for younger demographics. This hasn’t really worked out for them, unfortunately. The main reason could be the difference in onboard activities, as HAL offers less activities appropriate for younger generations.

Brand opportunities

HAL could get their desired brand positioning if they take action to attract the lower demographics. Add activities that cater more to kids, teens, or the whole family. Though nothing too crazy, in order to stay as a more premium and mature cruise line.

In addition, instead of bringing back the logo, HAL could attempt to incorporate elements of old traditions into the cruise experience. This way, it will “reflect its unique 140 year heritage”.

Conclusion

To summarize, HAL has continuously had a stable brand. Of course, there is always room for improvement, such as by working on stronger brand awareness or differentiation. According to this webpage, they rank in the top five in many categories. “Best Line for Service” and “Best Line for Dining”, for example. In spite of that, HAL doesn’t excel in any specific category. Otherwise, that could really set them apart from other cruise lines.

Some of our work

Erasmian Urbanism

The book Erasmian Urbanism was created – together with Nellie Keijzer and Ingo Caly – for Maarten Struijs. The then principal urban planner of the city of… Read more »

Posted on November 1, 2014

Any questions or requests? Please feel free to contact us