Technology developed for Royal Caribbean trade sales reps to manage their agency visits could be given to agents to help them make more bookings.

Royal credits its new app for a significant upturn in engagement with agents and for helping to justify a more than doubling of its on-the-road sales team.

The app, which works on a tablet, provides access to rich content such as images and video even when offline.

It was rolled out last year and is due to be upgraded in September. UK managing director Ben Bouldin said he wants to make it available to agents on branded tablets.

“I want to look at how we take this technology and give it to agents,” he said. “We will be doing a test where we give them the kit to help them do a better job for us.”

Bouldin said developing close partnerships with agents was vital, and the app had helped the line increase the number of UK agents its reps see regularly from “the low hundreds to 3,000”.

“We are trying to take a bigger share of the package holiday market so we have to convince every travel agent that cruise is an alternative to land-based holidays.

“That journey is still in its infancy. There are still many agents who are only just waking up to the opportunity. Our biggest challenge with customers is showing them what they do not know and our biggest opportunity to do that is through the trade.

“There have been lots of reports about closures of high street stores. It’s very easy to say retail isn’t doing great; well, our retail is doing fine.

“Smaller agents used to be really cynical about big brands coming in to see them because they felt you only cared about Tui and Thomas Cook. This technology is changing all that and means I can show clear return on investment.”

About the app

• The app introduces consumer-grade easy-to-use functionality and design to the B2B sector.
• It is a bespoke user interface built on customer relationship management software Salesforce, which has been tailored to Royal’s RSMs’ needs.
• Reps use the app to organise everything from the planning of their calls to agreeing action plans with agents and reporting back.
• Users are asked to input store details, its position on the high street and competitors, what it is selling, opportunities to promote Royal Caribbean and brochure requirements.
• It can track store performance as well as individual agent sales through the Club Royal incentive scheme, keep track of who has left and new starters.
• Reps can use it to send promotional materials, create window cards and share promotional videos and other collateral. This can be also be done offline so reps can still do their jobs even in areas with poor connectivity or no Wi-Fi.

Q&A, Harriet Fallon, regional sales manager for London, the southeast and the Channel Islands

Q. The app leaves no hiding place. Does is feel a bit Big Brotherish?
A. If you are doing your job, that should not be a problem. Ben [Bouldin] should know I’m doing the job he has asked me to do.
Q. What’s been the biggest impact of the app on your work?
A. Before, the challenges of being offline meant doing anything took ages. Now, even the first version of the app was so much faster.
Q. What do agents think?
A. The feedback from agents has been fantastic. They are much more engaged because it helps me to do my job more efficiently.
Q. How has it changed your day-to-day job?
A. It’s slicker, so I’m doing a lot less admin, like creating reports in the evenings that I used to have to do. I have a better work-life balance.