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Royal Caribbean incentivises travel agents to sell cruise packages

Royal Caribbean has unveiled a trade incentive programme to enable agents to earn more by selling all elements of a Royal Caribbean holiday together.

The ‘Royal Flush’ scheme, which launches on October 1, will see agents rewarded for selling the cruise, flights and transfers of a Royal Caribbean package at the same time.

International sales director for the UK & Ireland, Stuart Byron said agents could make “an incremental earning on top of their existing commission scheme” and that the level of those earnings would increase depending on cruise destination and cabin category.

“If agents book an inside or an ocean view cabin, they will earn one tier; if they book a balcony cabin, they’ll earn the second tier, and if they book a suite, then they will earn the maximum tier,” Byron explained.

“We’re also splitting up the world into two parts. So if [agents] book Europe, there will be one level of earning, and if they book the Caribbean or rest of the world sailings, they will earn a slightly higher amount.

“We’re really trying to support the trade with how they can trade up their sales as a result.

“Ultimately, we’re just trying to make bookings easier for our trade partners to manage and help overcome some of the challenges they are experiencing at the moment in terms of peace of mind and protection.”

Byron added: “We’re doing this in recognition and support for what has been incredibly challenging time for the trade and aligning that with some of the changing buying behaviours that we’re seeing from our guests.”

He explained the line’s sales are currently “about 50:50” in terms of guests that bought the full four-component package and those that book elements separately.

“A significant number of people would buy all the elements individually before [the pandemic] but confidence has been knocked and people are now increasingly looking to buy it all in one place,” said Byron.

He explained the line’s customer segmentation identified four key groups – adventure seekers, family seekers, culture seekers and vintage vacationers.

Vintage vacationers invariably bought full packages, but the other three ‘seeker’ types, whom he also referred to as the “wanderlust groups who were traditionally more travel-savvy”, often bought elements individually.

“But now and certainly for the short-term, they want to deal with one person, in one place and know that they will be taken care of,” Byron said.

“This will make it easier for customers in the event of any further disruption and also much easier for our trade partners to manage as it will overcome some of the challenges they have traditionally faced with booking fly-cruise,” he said.

Byron hoped the new Royal Flush scheme would be well-received by the trade, off the back of recent news that the line’s yet-to-launch mega ship, Wonder of the Seas, is to be deployed to Barcelona next spring, in addition to its newest current vessel, Odyssey of the Seas, sailing out of Rome.

“We will have the latest, greatest ship from our fleet homeporting in Barcelona,” he said. “It’s such exciting news. We will have eight ships in Europe where we would normally have had six. There have been some important learnings that we’ve taken on board over the last 18 months around demand and that’s seen our European deployment grow. We are going to have the biggest and best hardware in our back yard which is a huge opportunity for the trade.”

Byron added: “With restrictions easing and travel opening to the US, it feels like all of the momentum is building, and that now was the right time to launch our Royal Flush incentive and ensure there is more in it for the trade.”

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