Royal Caribbean’s successful reimagining of its Club Royal programme is seeing both agents and the line itself reaping the rewards, says Sam Ballard
Club Royal, Royal Caribbean’s award-winning agent reward programme, was established five years ago and in that time it has turned cruise line loyalty schemes on their head. It made the idea of agents earning points for each booking – and then choosing a prize from a limited selection – seem almost antiquated. With Club Royal, every booking sees a cash reward loaded onto a branded pre-paid Mastercard. Agents can then use that cash towards whatever they want, whether that’s the weekly shop or part payment for a holiday. However, while the cash rewards are undoubtedly the most talked-about strand of Club Royal, they are by no means the only element. In fact, they’re just the start. “After five years of Club Royal, we took a step back and looked at what made the scheme so great in the first place,” explained Ben Bouldin, vice president EMEA sales. “What have we done right over the past few years? It’s about getting the basics right and keeping it simple.” That pause and rethink has led to a whole host of enhancements, which were announced at Club Royal’s fifth birthday party at an exclusive venue in Leicestershire. Club Royal is now a platform through which all of Royal Caribbean’s agent engagement can be funnelled. Bookings, Rewards, Learn and Toolbox can all be found at My Club Royal. Not only that, but the plastic credit card will be replaced by an app – opening up even more opportunities in the future, from training on the go, to linking to agents’ social media accounts for the next big ship launch competition. Since the initiative was set up in 2014, more than 3,500 agents have attended special Club Royal events.
These have included money-can’t-buy aspirational trips to South Africa, Hong Kong, Tokyo Dubai and many more. Last year, more than 2,000 travel agents booked a Royal Caribbean holiday for themselves, receiving different levels of spending money depending on the level of their membership. The holiday cashback programme was doubled for seven-day Perfect Day and Allure of the Seas Mediterranean sailings – an incredible opportunity for agents to get themselves, and their families, on board.
Further user enhancements include the addition of a new area – LEARN (Learn Everything About Royal Now) – which launched last October and delivers a more engaging experience for the user through artificial intelligence and intuitive learning. It also offers a more personalised experience for agents wanting to learn more about Royal Caribbean and how to sell holidays. Another new part of the scheme coming this year is the ability for agents to make charitable donations to causes including the Family Holiday Association, Southampton Children’s Hospital and WWF. Royal Caribbean will match every donation made. Focus will remain on enhancing the programme throughout 2020, so get registered and keep logging in to see what’s coming.
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The great innovators: your guide to selling Royal Caribbean cruise holidays. Find out more about the Royal Caribbean customer; its private island Perfect Day at CocoCay, and Club Royal; and its agent rewards scheme. Click here to read the magazine in full.