Starting in December, Hurtigruten Expeditions will henceforth be known as HX. Simultaneously, Hurtigruten Norway's Coastal Express returns simply to Hurtigruten, the original name of the iconic route launched in 1893.
"The name Hurtigruten is synonymous with travel in Norway," said Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten Group. "Today's evolution of our brand identities is the culmination of the work that started in 2021 when we split the two brands."
In a one-on-one conversation with TMR, Skjeldam added, "The two companies are developing in very different directions going forward. And this is just a continuation of the blue water that we've been creating between the two businesses."
"We had a challenge today that in the North American market, everything is referred to Hurtigruten, whether that's a coastal cruise on Hurtigruten Norway or whether that's an expedition cruise to Antarctica," Skjeldam added. "It's referred to as the same thing and it's not the same thing. It's two very, very different products, now delivered by two different companies. And, it's a completely different product proposition, it's completely different terms and conditions for the travel trade, and it's a very different guest experience."
In addition to its polar offerings, HX offers expedition cruising in the Galapagos, Alaska, and to the West African archipelagos of both Cape Verde and the Bissagos Islands.
(Learn more about Hurtigruten Expeditions' Galapagos offering.)
The new HX brand and logo will be implemented starting in December, with updates to brochures, websites and social channels. The fleets' six ships will also be repainted with the new name and logo, with the full fleet done within 18 months.
"We will gradually introduce the new brand," Skjeldam said. "We will have a transition period where people will see HX/Hurtigruten Expeditions in the overall brand architecture so that we minimize the risk of someone feeling that this is something completely new."
Concurrently, Hurtigruten will split its website into two separate sites, one for HX and one for Hurtigruten (Norway).
While Hurtigruten plans to market the brand name changes for both products, the focus – at least in North America – will be on HX.
"The big growth potential in the Americas lies within HX," Skjeldam told TMR. "And the reason for that is that the North American market is very accustomed to a cruise product. This is a cruise product, although an expedition cruise product. It's also a very high end all-inclusive offering. So the entire product is adapted to North American needs and we see a massive potential going forward in the North American market."
Hurtigruten isn't simply hoping for growth. The company is already experiencing massive growth in North America. Hurtigruten Expeditions' U.S. revenue is up more than 93% this year versus last year. Even more impressively, the company's U.S. expedition revenue is up 949% this year when compared to 2019.
Good news for the trade
Skjeldam told TMR he that HX is also expecting to see growth in its trade partnerships. The line is currently busy adapting the terms and conditions for HX "to reflect our desire to grow within the travel trade space."
When asked if he could be more specific, Skjeldam said, "What I can say is that the commission structure for HX will be different from the commission structure in Hurtigruten Norway. We will offer competitive commission structures to the trade in HX."
"I think it is fair to say that we will change for the better," he added. "We will better support the travel trade going forward. Historically, Hurtigruten has been a very Euro-centric company. With this move we are going to invest significantly in our focus towards the travel trade in North America. We're going to have more feet on the ground and it'll be also a desire to strengthen the trade links and trade partnerships with a lot more follow up and better terms and conditions than they historically had."
Both Hurtigruten Expeditions (HX) and Hurtigruten Norway (Hurtigruten) are 100% owned by Hurtigruten Group. The same parent company also owns a 25% stake in Ecuador-based Metropolitan Touring.