Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

From Marketing to Dining – Innovation is Key

I would like to highlight two of our innovations that are unfolding at the moment, one in our product and one in our communication about our product:

Until now, [a limited number of] bar servers have roamed the tables in the main dining room to offer beverage service. As some guests have pointed out, it’s challenging for this number of bar staff to provide timely service to guests before (or after) their meals arrive. On average our staff level for this undertaking has been one bar server for each 150 guests. We are changing this and by the end of August the waiters on all of our ships will have taken over the responsibility of offering drinks as their guests are seated and thereafter. The ratio will become one server for each 24 guests. We are confident from our testing of this change that our wait staff will greatly improve the flow and timeliness of beverage service during the dining experience. This program further increases guest satisfaction by enabling the waiter to place all cocktail and wine orders on one check.

As with many changes, this initiative requires support and training that takes time and there will be inevitable hiccups. We are implementing a core competency wine and sprits training program and ensuring it is available to all Restaurant crew via the internet. The training encompasses Gold Anchor Standards developed for this initiative. After we overcome the initial learning curve and culture change, we believe this new approach will boost guest satisfaction.

The second change is the latest evolution of our advertising within the “Nation of Why Not” marketing campaign. Traditionally, the effort to produce a 30 second television commercial is a painstaking process from the first strategic brainstorming to the final edits before a high quality ad goes on the air. If we’re fortunate it takes weeks. Often, months. So until now, the idea that we could shoot a commercial onboard a ship one day and air the commercial the next day has been science fiction. Yet that’s exactly what our marketing team together with our advertising agency JWT accomplished multiple times during the week of July 13 – 17 with our “Postcards from the Nation” series of ads.

As hopefully many of you saw one or more times – we aired the commercials in a number of large U.S. markets plus you can view all of the ads on our web site – the format involved a real guest taking on the role of a news anchor. In each case, the guest news anchor announced the daily “news” of various experiences that other guests had during real days onboard Liberty of the Seas. While it’s too early to gauge the success of this approach, one extremely positive indicator is the amount of traffic the ads drove to our web site. Our intention is to do variations on this theme at least two more times during the balance of the year. Congratulations to Betsy O’Rourke, our Senior VP, Marketing, and her team for this remarkably innovative advertising breakthrough that really shows what the Royal Caribbean International experience offers to our guests.

9 responses to:
“From Marketing to Dining – Innovation is Key”

  1. Tom

    Love the new ads and I think they will be very effective. Having normal people within multi generations actually showing what a great time they are having and doing many varied activities is a stroke of genius! Talk about mass appeal!

  2. Julie

    Adam,

    First off, thank you for enhancing the dining room bar service, as I believe that was a major weak spot in the dining room experience. I am thrilled with the improvement.

    Also, I would like for you to address something about the Oasis. I am a travel agent and have been asked about the festivities/sailings that RCL will be doing prior to the Maiden Voyage of your beautiful ship. Will loyal cruisers be included??

    A Happy Cruiser
    Julie

  3. Vincent massa

    is there any plans to reconize cruisers with over 100 cruises….We are calling ourselves, members of the Century club. I understand there are only about 50 couples that can say this….the difference between a Diamond Plus cruiser with 24 cruises and a Diamond Plus cruiser with 100 cruises..I think there should be a distinction….

  4. tom young

    I like the idea of the waiter and assistant hustling drinks but will this take away from their attention to detail on the other end like bread service etc, water, etc.
    I always order my cocktail the first night and ask to have that on the table at every dinner for the week. I have never been let down. I also pick a neutral wine like Pinot Noir and I have one with evry dinner. This works for me but many people like to switch up so i can see where the waitstaff is better able to handle it.
    Commercials from the ship is another great idea. Showing real people having a good time is great advertising.
    Keep the positive changes coming.
    Tom

  5. Mandy

    I too am pleased to hear about the new MDR beverage service. The waitstaff has offered wine service, but some need additional training to adequately provide this service.

    I’ve only seen one of the ads so far, but am sorry to say I wasn’t particularly impressed. The ad I saw highlighted activities such as karaoke (which I can do at home)and boxing (I never saw a single person use that boxing ring on Freedom). It also showed the rock-climbing wall at night, which was impressive. Maybe the other ads already incorporate this suggestion, but I think the spots should highlight the really different things that make a Royal Caribbean vacation unique and special. For example: the 70′s dance party, the parades on the Promenade, ice-skating/mini-golf/in-line skating/rock climbing at sea, the piano bar, the sexy-legs and belly flop contests. And the service! Remember those ads you used to run for Celebrity? Spending a week with a staff who knows me by name and treats me like royalty is part of what I love so much about a cruise vacation. The entertainment is included! My favorite to date was Beatlemania – such an audience pleaser! Wow! I paid to see that show in NYC; it was included in the price of my cruise! I’ve seen so many really great shows at sea!

    A person’s first cruise experience is just awe-inspiring. It’s unlike any land-based vacation. I’m not sure this can be accurately communicated on a 30-second TV ad, but it’s something past cruisers understand and try to express to anyone who will listen!

  6. Don benson

    I am a recently-earned Diamond member, so my experience is somewhat limited, but I am also an astute observer. I’ve talked with dozens of RCL travelers, about half of them Diamond also. In each case, the one most-important emotional memory of all cruises, short or long, is the perceived emotional attachment formed with your waiter/ass’t waiter. On cruises where that attachment ‘clicks’ all else is forgiven. Please continue to do whatever is necessary to enhance that attachment. Build on it.

  7. Alina Reznik

    Dear Adam,

    How are you? You have such interesting blog posts and I loved the video of you playing ping-pong! It’s great to see the faces behind Royal Caribbean. I am proud to say I have been on about 7 cruises and have always been interested to work for Royal Caribbean. I love everything about the campaign of WHY NOT and the beautifully designed website and ads. I know this is a long shot, but would there be any way to get in touch with Betsy O’Rourke, the Senior Vice President of Marketing? I wanted to reach out to her and at least intern with the marketing department to not only learn from the best, but also show my innovative and entrepreneurial drive. It would be a dream come true to join such an amazing company. I hope you can help! Hope to hear from you soon. My email is alina.reznik@temple.edu

    Cheers,
    Alina Reznik

  8. Mark Budwig

    Adam –

    Happy holidays to you. I am chair of the Trustee program at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. At our Trustee receptions, we typically gain about 100 Broward County movers and shakers. I’d like to invite you to come to our January 26th event (6:00 pm – 7:30 pm and speak for a few minutes about your outstanding business. I can be reached at 954-523-1980 or mark@smark.com. Thank you for your consideration.

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