Eurovision partnership has ‘fired up’ Royal Caribbean fan base

Royal Caribbean’s partnership with the Eurovision Song Contest has “fired up our fan base” during the first quarter of the year, according to the line’s EMEA vice-president.

Speaking from Malmo, Sweden, where the semi-finals of the competition are taking place this week ahead of the final on Saturday night, Ben Bouldin said engagement with the brand since it announced in January it would be sponsoring the song contest for 2024 and 2025 had taken off.

“This is one of the biggest shows in the world and the partnership is one of the strongest synergies for our brand across Europe – not just in the UK and Ireland but it transcends a greater geography – 37 countries that we operate in that will be exposed to the Royal brand,” he said.

“One of our key objectives was to grow the fan base of the brand, and this partnership, which was teased with adverts in January, right up to now with everything from our videos at the airport, host-city promotion and brand exposure throughout the event, is the perfect platform to reach new like-minded audiences.”

More: New-to-cruise and young passengers driving Royal Caribbean Group sales

Bouldin added: “Eurovision is one of the most-watched shows in the world – 168 million people will watch the final, or more than 200 million if you include live streaming – and like Royal Caribbean, is a renowned celebration of live entertainment and international cultures.”

Royal is hosting 160 travel agents, media and special guests from across Europe in Malmo this week across the semi-finals and final, about 65 of whom are from the UK and Ireland.

“The agents that are here all won their place through a Club Royal competition – an element of which was on sales performance but also on engagement. They are therefore fanatical about Eurovision and fanatical about Royal,” he said.

“We also gave away a number of wild card places because not everyone is a cruise specialist.”

More: Royal Caribbean shares details of Eurovision-themed sailings

Every agent attending Eurovision will also join a training session and their success following the trip will be monitored.

“The days of just winning a prize, taking the trip and leaving are over,” said Bouldin. “It’s about the event, but also post-event; staying in touch with us and working that bond between us and the travel agent so they are promoting everything that Royal Caribbean stands for, which is the ultimate family vacation.”

The events in Sweden coincide with the departures of three out of four Eurovision-themed sailings on Royal Caribbean ships. The line is hosting “viewing parties” on Anthem, Explorer, Odyssey and Oasis of the Seas.

Agents at the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals
Agents at the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals

“Our show-stopping venues will transform into the perfect spot to watch the Eurovision final on Saturday night, accompanied by bespoke drinks and menus,” said Bouldin.

This week also sees Royal Caribbean running its second four-night Seminar At Sea from Rome to Barcelona on board Oasis of the Seas.

“We’ve got 400 agents from across Europe – ones that have never been on a Royal ship before. It’s the biggest number we’ve hosted. So while we’re enjoying the delights of Eurovision in Sweden, we have 20 members of the team hosting and training agents. Working in tandem with our partners, we know they need to experience the product to truly understand it, and then be able to contribute more effectively,” he said.

“We will be monitoring their progress over the next year in terms of sales and their use of Royal Genie, the interactive sales tool that we’ve developed for the trade. It’s the best digital marketing tool to help agents sell our brand and for those who use it, we’re seeing conversion rates of 26%.

“We’re also following them on social media to help them build a digital relationship with their clients through social posts.”

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