Royal Caribbean International is to place more focus on working with and supporting independent agents around the UK and Ireland.
Sales director Ben Bouldin said Royal hadn’t been “particularly strong” at working with independents, but he insisted that was changing and that his team was going after the independent sector “with all guns blazing”.
Speaking on board Royal’s 24th ship, Ovation of the Seas (pictured), in Southampton, Bouldin said winning over independents was crucial. Over the past two years the line has been more focused on multiples, such as Thomas Cook and Tui, and cruise specialists.
Bouldin pledged his sales team would visit 3,000 agents every quarter this year, more than the line has ever visited before.
Royal hosted 650 agents at the launch celebrations of Ovation of the Seas, which will be based in China. More than 70% of those on board hadn’t experienced a Quantum-class ship previously.
Bouldin said: “There are a lot of Irish and independent agents, who we had never visited six months ago. The independent marketplace is one we hadn’t been strong at previously, but we are going after it with all guns blazing.
“We’ve always recognised the importance of independent agents, but it is a market that we failed to get to previously face-to-face. We are starting to get to them now and it is making a difference.
“I need more agents to be more knowledgeable about our product, better equipped and more skilled at convincing new customers that Royal is a great holiday. And days like today [Ovation’s launch], giving new agents the chance to see our newest hardware, does that.”
Ovation of the Seas will operate several sold-out taster cruises from Southampton before sailing to China.
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