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Abstract

Testing established theory in relationship marketing, we examine the impact of customer relationship management on customer satisfaction and brand loyalty in the context of the cruise industry. Individual differences such as age cohort (e.g., millennials, Gen X, baby boomers), gender, and consumers’ desired travel attributes are examined as moderators. Cruise vacation consumers at an international cruise harbor were approached to complete an in-person survey (n = 226). Empirical findings support extant theory in relationship marketing in that consumers’ perception of relationship investment raises satisfaction and, in turn, brand loyalty. Notably, when customer relationship investment is degenerated into a second order dimension structure, value-added activities are more important than interaction and customer profiling in this sectorespecially for millennials. Millennial consumers are more sensitive to value-added activities in the cruise sector, which is a key takeaway. First, while extant studies in this industry tend to focus on issues non-related to CRM, we examine the role of three types of relationship effort with cruise brands (i.e., the customer relationship investment construct is reflected by customer interaction, value-added activities, and customer profiling). Second, we explore how the established CRM framework can adequately capture the direct effects of individualized marketing campaigns on CRM performance in terms of consumer psychological perceptions and behavioral intentions. Third, a contribution is to uncover any multi-group differences in age and gender in explaining customer satisfaction and brand loyalty in the cruise sector. The findings provide practical implications for cruise vacation service providers in the area of value-added initiatives and more theoretical evidence for scholars in customer relationship management and brand loyalty.

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