Royal Caribbean International (www.cruisingpower.com) is recognizing a milestone in its 45-year history this week – as it welcomes its 50 millionth guest onboard its fleet of 21 ships.
Rather than recognizing the “specific” individual involved, though, the line is kicking off a year-long "wow" celebration honoring the cruise line’s guests, travel agent partners, employees and crew.
“For more than 45 years, Royal Caribbean’s guiding principle has been to deliver the ‘wow’ to our guests, providing them with experiences, services and amenities that can only be found on Royal Caribbean,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The men and women on our ships who deliver these wow moments are what inspire our loyal guests to return to sail with us again and again.”
Year-Long, Fleetwide Celebration
Spreading across the globe like a New Year’s Eve-style party, each of Royal Caribbean’s ships will recognize the milestone with shipboard festivities. Throughout the next year, there will be parties, festivities, and one-hour wow hour dedicated to the milestone. Look for fun activities in the ships' Centrum or Royal Promenade, for example.
Those onboard wow events will mark the start of a year-long campaign where consumers are encouraged to share their favorite wow moments with Royal Caribbean over the years by posting photos, videos and memorable stories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #RoyalWOW.
Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean’s senior vice president, sales, trade support and services, said the line will also be launching a similar trade site for agents to post their stories and to show how they’ve made the difference for their clients.
She also said the line, as part of its consumer efforts, will encourage guests to publicly post about how their travel agent made their cruise vacation special.
Royal Caribbean cites two big reasons for reaching the 50 million guest mark. One is its Gold Anchor Service by employees and crew. The line was recently rated second in a cruise quality survey conducted by J. D. Power & Associates; Disney took top honors with a rating of 871 on a scale of 1,000.
J.D. Power said in a press release: "Royal Caribbean International ranks second with a score of 838, and performs particularly well in service." Holland America Line placed third in the survey with 835, also doing well in the service category.
Royal Caribbean also cites its strong relationship with travel agent partners as another key reason for its success in reaching the 50 millionth guest mark. "This amazing milestone would not have been possible without the committed support of our travel agent and marketing partners," Freed emphasized in a special briefing with trade reporters late last week. "Since our very beginning, they have been brand champions of Royal Caribbean International."
Relaunched Trade Site
In conjunction with the 50 millionth guest celebration, Royal Caribbean has re-launched LoyaltoYouAlways.com. This site now sports a more modern look. Freed said it offers quick and easy access to information and resources that travel agents need to sell cruises and grow their business.
The new homepage features the Royal News Feed, which puts the latest news, offers, deployment updates, and policy changes immediately at travel agents’ fingertips.
A new marketing resources center on the site is a hub for all promotional materials – print, digital or broadcast – that travel agents can use to communicate and market to their clients.
In addition, Royal Caribbean is giving away five Google Nexus 7 tablets to travel agents who visit the site and provide their feedback.
Looking back at the company's history, Freed said of agents: "They’ve been the driving force that really popularized Caribbean cruising, back when it was new and an untested idea. Look at how far our industry has come now."
Freed acknowledged that Royal Caribbean isn't the easiest sale, as the brand isn't the low-price leader. In addition, the line has diverse onboard activities, lots of alternative dining and a story that needs to be shared with clients as part of the buying process. So “we recognize the value that travel agents have in articulating what our brand is all about,” she said.
“Today, [travel advisors] continue to show their incomparable value as the best interpreter of our cruise experience and with their ringing endorsements, we’re well on our way to our next 50 millionth wow,” said Freed. “We couldn’t have done it without the trade.”