Royal Caribbean Cruises, the holding company of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, has unveiled AirWaves, a new fly-cruise booking system that it says will revolutionise the booking process.
The new system brings all components of the booking process – from the cruise itself through to flights, hotels and transfers – under one application. There will now be just four steps to make a fly-cruise booking: search, refine, details and book. All three brands will be available through the same interface.
As part of the change under AirWaves, Royal Caribbean Cruises has taken on the Atol for agents that want to dynamically package a fly-cruise, saying that it will take responsibility if anything, for instance delayed flights, were to happen.
The entire package is commissionable.
Amanda Darrington, sales director for Royal Caribbean International, told Cruise Adviser: “This is a big move forward. We are the number one cruise line in terms of innovation and bringing that innovation to our agent partners.”
The company is also increasing the amount of choices that agents can make when it comes to creating a fly-cruise package. The number of hotels available will go from 60 up to 2,500, all of which will either be four or five-star. Agents will also be able see flights – including from low-cost carriers – from 30 regional airports with live pricing. Transfers available will range from coaches to limousines.
Claire Stirrup, sales director for Celebrity Cruises, explained: “It’s all about choice. The main difference with AirWaves is that you can personalise the holiday to whatever you want it to be to help deliver customers their perfect holiday.”
Harrington added: “Put simply there is no need to be afraid of booking a cruise holiday anymore.”
The system was built with the help of 30 travel agent ambassadors who helped give feedback throughout the process. It will be rolled out to 350 travel agents on August 1, as part of the next stage of testing before going live on November 1.
Steve Pattenden, owner of Double S Travel, who was one of the 30 ambassadors, said: “Cruise is one of those things that people avoid learning. With this it will be as simple as booking any other kind of holiday. The system is a confidence builder for both the customer and the agent.”
Donna Rosegreen, of TUI Nuneaton, another ambassador, added: “I think it’s game changing. It’s great for the customer and for the agent. It’s so simple. Everything is on one screen so it will incredibly easy to use and train staff, no matter how good they are with technology.
“Everything we suggested has been put into AirWaves. I have staff in my shop that will steer clear of cruise because it is a difficult sell. This will change all of that.”
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