Onsite: Royal Caribbean's Freed Announces Enhanced Booking Capabilities

FORT LAUDERDALE-Royal Caribbean International and its sister brands Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises have unveiled new online group booking and management features on the cruiselines' travel agent website, cruisingpower.com. The announcement was made at CLIA's cruise3sixty conference by Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean's new senior vice president of sales and service, who was addressing trade and media for the first time since leaving Carnival Cruise Lines. The new capabilities allow for easier management of group bookings and the ability to transfer individual bookings into a group through the CruiseMatch booking system.

"Through these enhancements to the cruise lines' booking and processing systems, travel partners can expect to receive their commission payment up to 66 percent quicker," said Freed, dressed in the familiar yellow and blue colors of Royal Caribbean, and referring to Carnival not by name but as "the other company."

Freed said a major difference that set Royal Caribbean apart was its robust suite of tools it made available to agents. "We want agents to get to know them," she said. Freed also intimated that one of the reasons she joined Royal Caribbean was because of the many conversations she had with Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean, leading up to her appointment. "He told me," she said, "'I want to build the best innovative products and for consumers to want them-and to sell through travel agents.'"

Freed said Royal Caribbean is notable for its flexibility in its relationships with agents. "We are channel neutral but prefer business to come through agents," she said." Backing that claim is Royal Caribbean's Agent Locator tool, which allows agents to market themselves directly through Royal Caribbean's website. Agents wishing to learn more about Royal Caribbean's selling and booking tools can visit www.cruisingpower.com/etools. (DE)

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