Tag Archive for: cruising

Cruising along with Influence, Part 2

When I made my last posting I mentioned my wife, Jane, and I were leaving for a cruise. We enjoyed a five-day, four-night cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas in the Western Caribbean. We had a great time and, on top of that, I got my idea for this week’s Influence PEOPLE posting!

When I teach the two-day Principles of Persuasion workshop one of the six principles of influence I talk about is the principle of consensus. Consensus tells us people generally look to others to determine how they should act in different situations. We tend to take our cues from large groups of people or people we see as similar to ourselves. If you’re a parent with teens you might call this “peer pressure.” No matter how you label it, the reality is we’re heavily influenced by the actions of others, particularly when we’re not quite sure what to do.

A study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of different messaging in an effort to get hotel guests to reuse their towels rather than have them washed and get new ones each day when staying for more than one night. Door hangers were used to try to accomplish this. One door hanger used a message with only an environmental appeal, “Help Save the Environment,” followed by some information on the importance of the environment. We live in a time when going green is important so this message was somewhat effective; towel reuse went up 37.2%.

A second message was tested, one that engaged the principle of consensus. The wording at the top of the second door hanger read, “Join Your Fellow Guests in Helping Save the Environment.” Beneath the heading it went on to mention 75% of guests had participated in the new towel reuse program. When this message was used towel reuse rate increased to 44.0%.

The hotel was committed to doing something to motivate its guests to help save the environment so the cost of the door hangers was a constant. The real consideration was how to best make the appeal and get the desired behavior. As you saw with the experiment, tapping into what others were doing was the better form of motivation because it resulted in an 18.3% increase over the environmental only appeal. Now that you know this, which message would you use if you were in charge of soliciting the help of others to go green?

So what does this have to do with the cruise Jane and I were just on? Royal Caribbean participates in a program known as “Save the Waves.” Because of the towel reuse study, Royal Caribbean’s “Save the Waves” placard hanging in the bathroom caught my eye. Here’s how it read,

Protect Our Oceans At Royal Caribbean, reducing waste and conserving resources such as water and electricity is a large part of the company’s Save the Waves program. You can help us reduce waste generated by laundering and conserve water by using your towel more than once. Simply place the towel on the rack to indicate: “I’ll use again.” Place the towel on the floor to indicate: “Please exchange.”

I give Royal Caribbean an “A” for effort — helping the environment is a good thing — but only a “C” for execution. With almost 40 ships in its fleet and a capacity of 79,000 passengers at any one time, approximately four million passengers cruise with Royal Caribbean each year. Increasing towel reuse and decreasing electricity usage for 5%, 10%, perhaps even 20% more passengers can have a huge overall impact on the ocean and the Royal Caribbean’s expenses.Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t work for a hotel or cruise line so what’s this have to do with me?” Each of us has countless opportunities to influence people every day and too often we don’t leverage the science of influence which means we’re not as successful as we could be. If a huge corporation like Royal Caribbean, which has a lot at stake with helping preserve the environment and reducing expenses, can miss a golden opportunity, who are we to think we’re not missing them too, especially when we have so much less on the line?

As I noted last week, this is the type of real world application I’ll be sharing with you as we continue this persuasion journey together. I welcome your feedback so click on the comments link below and let me know what you thought of this week’s article.


Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Cruising along with Influence

With influence we’re focusing on Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical. How exactly can we do that? My wife and I are going on a cruise this week so I can share a couple of real examples from cruises we went on in the past.

Many years ago while cruising we had a full day at sea which meant all the action was going to be poolside that day. Knowing that, we arrived at the pool early so we could get couple of lounge chairs and save a few seats for some fellow State Auto employees. Success was ours as we landed several lounge chairs right next to the pool!

Late morning we decided to go play a bingo ticket because it was potentially worth $5000. The odds of winning were slim but scarcity, the fear of losing out on the chance for the big prize, motivated us to go to the bingo area and play the odds.
We were gone approximately 30-45 minutes and when we got back to the pool, low and behold, people were laying on our chairs! I politely asked them to move because they were sitting in our chairs but they refused. I reminded them the clothes, books and other items they’d put at the foot of the chairs were ours and they were obvious indicators the chairs were being used.
They refused to move and the young pool attendant would not help us out because he said we’d been gone more than 30 minutes. Without going into more detail, suffice it to say, the exchange that took place about the loss of the poolside chairs pretty much ruined our afternoon.

So what’s this have to do with persuasion? Plenty, because after learning about persuasion we were able to avoid a repeat performance. The following year we were facing the same situation, a day at sea which meant another early trip to the pool. As we enjoyed the morning a young couple took one of the last lounge chairs available which happened to be next to us. While the wife leisurely stretched out and enjoyed the sun her husband was relegated to sitting at the foot of the lounger as he read his book.

When lunch rolled around we wanted to go to the schooner lounge to eat. Leary of coming back to no chairs I turned to the young couple as asked, “Would you mind watching our things because we want to grab some lunch?” As any nice couple would, they agreed.

Because I understood the psychology of persuasion I knew I’d tapped into something called consistency. Consistency is the psychological pressure we all feel when it comes to our words and deeds. When we give our word we feel good about ourselves when we keep it. How do you think that young couple would have felt if we’d come back to find strangers sunning on our chairs? If they’re like most people they’d feel bad. I was banking on the fact that no one wants to feel that way and it would prompt them to take appropriate actions to ensure the chairs were waiting for us when we returned.

After they agreed to watch our chairs I told the young man he was welcome to stretch out on one of our chairs while we were gone, which he was eager to do. Now that I’d given him something I’d engaged reciprocity, the psychological principle where we feel obligated to give back to someone who’s given us something. Because I’d given him use of our chairs I knew he’d be even more likely make sure no one tried to take our place.

I got a double whammy for my efforts because I engaged consistency and reciprocity. What you’ll find is quite often it’s possible to bring multiple influence principles to bear in a situation and when you can do so it significantly increases the odds of hearing someone say “Yes” when you make a request.

As you might expect, we enjoyed our lunch and returned to the pool later to find our lounge chairs waiting for us which made for a great afternoon! These are the types of real world application I plan to share as you continue this persuasion journey with me. I welcome your feedback so just click on the comments link below to let me know what you thought of this week’s article.

Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.