Celebrity Cruises boss reaffirms commitment to the trade

Celebrity Cruises boss reaffirms commitment to the trade

The boss of Royal Caribbean International sister brand Celebrity Cruises has urged the trade to give it a chance to show its new call centre in Guatemala can work and offer improved service.

Michael Bayley, chief executive of the upmarket brand, told today's Clia Columbus Day that the recent restructure was a business decision but one taken to enhance the experience of its travel agent partners.

The operator has announced its three main brands, also including Azamara Club Cruises, will operate as separate entities, meaning Celebrity will get its own UK trade team and management.

"Give Royal Caribbean the chance," said Bayley. "It has been incredibly committed to the UK market for decades. Nothing is going to change and I think you will continue to see that dedication continue to intensify.

"Royal Caribbean is renowned for exceptional service. It's built it's brand on customer satisfaction so there is nothing it would undertake that would be detrimental to the experience of our trade partners."

Bayley added that he expected Royal's UK management would be quick to change things if the call centre move was deemed to have not worked. He conceded agents have a genuine concern but added that from what he had seen the quality of staff being recruited is "quite exceptional" and said "we have got to give this process time."

Speaking about the Celebrity brand Bayley said it was looking to invest more in marketing and trade support.

He called for the trade to work more closely with lines to communicate the differentiation between different operators' offering. He also said more needed to be done to market cruise on the basis of the in-destination experience.

"Our focus is to make sure the experience is absolutely the best. The travel agent channel is our key channel.

"It's the most significant and we are really committed to our travel agent partners and are investing with them. We have far more resources and more people working with a single focus. There will be more support, more dialogue and discussions about how we can build our businesses together."

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