Patients without Borders

medical tourismAs medical tourism for elective procedures gains momentum, could going global provide a cure for ailing American health institutions? A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students.

Like many vibrant, athletic men, retired U.S. Air Force General Steve Dotson has a bum knee. Seventy years old, and an avid skier, Steve is simply not ready to sit in the lodge. Nor does he like the sound of a knee replacement’s long and painful recovery period, even though his insurance policy would cover the cost. Lucky for him there is a third option: travel to the Cayman Islands for a quasi-experimental (and non-FDA approved) stem cell procedure. A sophisticated marketing effort from a Colorado-based group of doctors operating an offshore clinic has convinced Steve that a simple procedure might negate the need for a surgical knee replacement, while accomplishing the same objective of keeping him active. All said, the procedure will cost Steve around $20,000 cash—a cost he believes is worth it if the results are positive. Steve is far from unique.

Disney Cruise Line: Staying afloat in a new industry

Disney Cruise LineMaybe Disney has just spoiled me. All I know is that from the moment I make my reservation with Disney to the moment I step off their ship, I am treated like royalty. As I was walking off the [Norwegian] ship this morning,the last thing I heard was a man scream at the top of his lungs, “I will NEVER sail this cruise line EVER again.” I was not surprised when the woman at Guest Services yelled equally as loud back, “Good, I hope you never do!” I think it is fair to say that exchange would have NEVER have happened on a Disney ship. — Nickelodeon Norwegian Cruise passenger

By Rodrigo Quezada, Munish Jhavri, Stephanie Snyder, Nick Ford, Lauren Sanne and Riley Roberts

The family cruise line industry is not an easy one in which to stay afloat, especially the niche market of family cruises. Competition is stiff, as cruise lines are realizing more and more that partnering with a well-known brand and creating a theme cruise can be a great way to capture a specific market, particularly themes that cater to children and families. There has been a recent surge in the introduction of such cruises, including a partnership between Norwegian Cruise Lines and Nickelodeon, mentioned above, DreamWorks and Royal Caribbean, and others. However, as the quote above shows, much can go wrong when expanding into unknown markets if a company loses sight of its key strategic advantages.

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