Hands-on With Royal Caribbean's New Espresso Reservations System

Travel agency owners, managers and advisors learned about the new Espresso reservations system at a Davie, FL, training session hosted by Royal Caribbean International. // Photo by Susan J. Young

More than 300 travel advisors, agency manager and owners traveled to Davie, FL, on Friday and Saturday to attend four-hour Espresso training sessions designed to teach them about Royal Caribbean International's new global reservations system. Espresso replaces CruiseMatch and goes live March 29.

Janice Oliveira of JB Cruises with Juan Silva of Royal Caribbean // Photo by Susan J. Young

Royal Caribbean expects to train more than 6,000 agents between the six-city live training tour and online webinars, according to Juan Silva, the line's director of e-distribution strategy and development, sales. 

Janice Oliveira, owner, JB Cruises, Boynton Beach, FL, attended the morning session on Friday and was bullish about the new system, with many new features recommended by agents themselves.

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“Absolutely, it will make us more efficient,” Oliveira said.  She’s most excited about Espresso’s ability to allow multiple agents in the office to make bookings simultaneously within the same group.

That’s currently not doable with CruiseMatch. “If one agent is booking within that group space, our other agents – who often have clients at their desks – can’t get in, so everyone just sits and waits,” she noted.

Espresso’s expanded group capabilities and the ability to select up to four pricing categories for comparison is also expected to help agents close the sale.

New “Single View” will give agents side-by-side comparison of individual pricing and inventory against the agency’s reserved group space.

Robin Hunter attended Friday's Espresso training in Davie, FL // Photo by Susan J. Young

Robin Hunter of Blu Diamond Travel, Fort Lauderdale, FL, whose agency is hosted by KHM Travel, was very pleased with the training and said “this is going to help us so much.” She specifically pointed to the group enhancements. 

Travel agent Cindy Burdige & Royal Caribbean's Vicki Freed // Photo by Susan J. Young

Espresso is a simpler, yet more intuitive system than CruiseMatch. It is designed to heighten efficiency for agents who now can make a booking in just five steps, versus seven from the past.

“It’s a lot faster and a lot more comprehensive,” stressed Cyndy Burdige, travel advisor with Luxe Travel, Boca Raton, FL.

At the session Friday morning, agents sat at long tables in front of laptops that demonstrated top features of the new system. Circulating to assist were helpers in barista-style aprons, an apt look given the new system’s name of Espresso.

Also wearing an Espresso apron, Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean’s senior vice president of sales, trade support and services, talked with the agents about the many new features of the new system, including these:

- New predictive search functionalities will allow for the auto population of past guests' information, including preferences. 

- Interactive desk plans are designed to be easier to use and see.

Travel agents, agency managers and owners attended Espresso training in South Florida last week // Photo by Susan J. Young

- Enhanced support capabilities will allow the agent to engage in a “live chat” or “request a call” with the cruise line’s automation consultants.

- Compatability with tablets and smart devices will give agents the flexibility of doing business on the go – if they so choose.

Susan Feldstein of Cruise Magic and Juan Silva of Royal Caribbean // Photo by Susan J. Young

“So far I like it,” said Bob Cook, director of sales for Go Travel, Longwood, FL. “I like that it’s more intuitive.”

He said he found the training helpful and was making a list of follow-up questions that were more nitty-gritty to ask after the formal seminar had concluded.

Leading the training was Silva, shown at left with Susan Feldstein, president, Cruise Magic, Inc., Lake Worth, FL.

For more information about how to participate in the training – whether live, via webinar or through the line’s sales team, visit www.bookespresso.com

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