On a recent visit to Disney World in Orlando, I noticed that many of the guests at the Beach Club Resort were carrying around Disney-branded, reusable mugs.
For $12.99, the guests purchased the mugs, which they could refill throughout their stay with as much soda, coffee, tea or hot chocolate as they could drink.
When the guests returned home, they would probably continue to use their shiny new mugs and advertise for Disney at the same time.
This seems like a good solution to help the cruise industry reduce the amount of bottles and cans it disposes and promote itself.
The cruise industry has long worked hard to convince the world that it is a steward of the environment, with high-tech wastewater cleaning solutions, cold-ironing programs (plugging into clean, shore-side power sources) and investing in ways to reduce its fuel consumption.
But the amount of refuse created by the travel industry in general from bottles, cans, tableware and mini bathroom products is astounding. And the cruise industry is no exception.
Cruise ships do a good job of recycling as many of the bottles and cans as they can. But there is little in the form of trying to reduce the amount created.
On one small ship, the ship’s onboard information guide assured passengers that its tap water was clean and drinkable. But it then added, "We recommend that our guests buy bottled water."
The simple answer is that the line wants to sell those bottles of water. And this is a major source of revenue. But there is an untapped revenue stream in selling passengers branded bottles and mugs that can be refilled during the cruise.
And as Disney realizes, it is also an investment in product promotion.