New Royal Caribbean International boss Michael Bayley says his previous experience at sister brand Celebrity Cruises will help him to ensure the two lines can differentiate themselves from one another successfully.
Bayley said returning to Royal Caribbean after three years at the helm of Celebrity Cruises was “like coming home to family.”
Bayley was appointed president and chief executive of Royal at the end of last year having been at the helm of Celebrity Cruises. Prior to that he had worked for Royal for “a lifetime” in various roles including executive vice president.
Speaking to Travel Weekly in his first trade interview onboard Anthem of the Seas, he said having experience as being a boss across both brands would allow him to ensure Royal is tailored to the right customer base.
“Before I was with Celebrity I was with Royal Caribbean for a lifetime,” he said. “And it’s like coming home to a brand that I grew up with and have a lot of passion for.
“As a manager, it’s great to have both types of experiences because I can understand better how we’ve got the right points of differentiation moving forward and how we get our product right for our target customers.”
He said there were great similarities between the brands, particularly with the new Quantum class ships which have a similar design and style to Celebrity’s Solstice class ships.
“Bringing the best from our sister brand to our brand is something we’re pleased to do. The difference is that the Royal brand has a lot of fun attached to it. The combination between the beautiful fun and the great fun of Royal Caribbean is a winning strategy.”
Bayley hailed the trade for their support of Royal the UK and Ireland. He said the trade would always be key for Royal and insisted that would never change.
“Having the trade on board is phenomenal,” he said. “We have always had a very strong relationship with travel agents and they have, and will always be, extremely important to our business.
“We recognise that our trade partners are critical and having them feel and experience Anthem of the Seas is crucial. For us to show off our product is very important for us because we need them to understand our ships and feel confident selling it.”
Bayley said summer bookings for 2015 were going well and that focus was beginning to shift on to 2016, with Independence of the Seas sailing out of Southampton.
“We have a constant cadence of ships and products that we ask our partners to focus with us on. We have a promotional product and a market campaign which runs together with our travel partners.
“Now we are starting to focus more on 2016 and Independence is selling well already for 2016 in the UK market.”
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