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Royal Caribbean top-sellers to win places at Tom Cruise premiere

The five top-selling agents of Royal Caribbean packages between October 1 and November 30 will win tickets to the premiere of Tom Cruise’s new movie Top Gun: Maverick in London’s Leicester Square.

The top-selling agency in each of five regions of the UK during the same period will win a private cinema viewing of the film for their staff, friends and family.

The two incentives were announced on Monday by Royal Caribbean sales director Stuart Byron and head of sales Torey Kings-Hodkin, at a special ‘Top Gun’ event for trade partners.

The pair were unveiling details of a new “front-end earning opportunity” called ‘Royal Flush’, which will reward agents with extra cash for booking full packages – inclusive of flights, cruise and transfers.

The level of earning will be determined by destination (either Europe or Caribbean and Rest of the World) and by cabin category – with balconies worth more than inside or ocean view cabins, and suites worth more still.

Byron said: “This is good as we are seeing a greater proportion of sales from the trade going into the higher-grade categories.”

He also quoted findings from Abta’s 2021 Travel Trends report which showed that 62% of respondents said they were looking to book an overseas holiday in the next six months (up from 52% 12 months ago); and that respondents are 20% more likely to book a holiday with a travel professional because they want more reassurance and protection.

It also found that 54% said they would choose to book their holiday as a complete package, and that 58% were interested in an ocean cruise – a figure that has not dropped since the pandemic.

Agents at the event welcomed news of the Royal Flush incentives.

John Sullivan, head of commercial at Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “Based on the feedback we’ve had from our members, after the withdrawal of the air commissions in the summer, this is a great step forward and gives members some real earning potential and at the same time the ability to sell fully-protected packages.”

Alison Earnshaw, managing director of World Travel Holdings, which operates the brand Cruise118, said: “This is great news. It’s a sign that the cruise lines are supporting us – the trade – as we come out the other side of what’s been an exceptionally difficult 12 months.

“Customers definitely do want protected package product. They are much more aware now of their rights and the benefits packages give them, so this is great and gives us an added incentive to sell them.”

Kings-Hodkin also revealed that Royal was also investing heavily again in marketing

“We’re about to make one of our biggest investments from a brand perspective,” she said.

“We’ve just signed a new premier league sponsorship as training shirt sponsor of Wolves for the next two years, which is a significant investment. We’re going back on TV very shortly across all the big mainstream channels, around sporting programmes, the soaps and family favourites like the Great British Bake-Off.”

“We’re also investing heavily in video-on-demand to drive awareness with highly-targeted audiences and finally, we’re employing mid-funnel tactics – so TripAdvisor, Spotify and YouTube – to meet consumers where they are.”

Kings-Hodkin added: “In January 2020, we invested in the sponsorship of The Masked Singer. As we move into Q4, this year we will be spending more than we ever have in Wave before. It’s a very significant investment by us.”

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