Adam: In addition to all the wonderful and talented employees that work onboard our ships and in our offices, we also rely on the community of professional travel agents to help guests plan a memorable vacation before they sail. This week, I’ve asked Vicki Freed,
senior vice president of Sales, Trade Support and Services, to discuss why we recommend travel agents and the important role that they play. Thank you Vicki!
One of my most memorable Royal Caribbean experiences was before I even worked here. It was on Freedom of the Seas, the newest ship around at the time, when my 11 year old son and I successfully finished riding the waves on the FlowRider – what an amazing experience! My son was in awe and kept telling me “Mom, this is the coolest ever!” I responded, “That’s good honey but don’t go around saying that, Mommy works for the competition.”
Well, I’ve now been working at Royal Caribbean a year and a half and I have to agree with my son….Royal Caribbean is the coolest thing ever!
I’m thrilled that Adam invited me to write a guest blog on one of the topics that our company is very passionate about – our partnership with the travel agent community. As Adam mentioned in one of his previous postings, I’ve been in the cruise industry for 29 years – and one constant over all of these years is the important role that travel agents play in the cruise industry and in the vacation planning process for our guests.
With thousands upon thousands of travel options, amenities, sites, destinations and deals available to consumers – we rely on travel agents to help communicate the story of our brand, the experience we offer and to cut through all of the clutter in the marketplace. The consumer relies on travel agents to guide them toward the vacation choice that is perfect for their needs. Often travelers purchase a vacation package without full knowledge of the product, the destination or the package details and do-it-yourself vacation planning many a time ends in disappointment.
That’s why I highly recommend the use of a travel agent. They are industry experts. Their job is to whisk their clients away on the vacation of their dreams. And they do so because they, themselves, love traveling. They enjoy providing vacation memories to their clients – and a happy customer is a returning customer.
I think of travel agents as vacation counselors, who meet and get to know their customers personally. They take the time to learn about their clients’ individual interests. You know how hard it is for two people to want the same thing – much less a whole family or a large group – and it is up to great travel agent partners like ours to analyze the needs and desires of their clients and create a wonderful vacation experience based on mutual needs, budgets, styles and variety.
We work very closely with our travel partners to ensure they are up to speed on all things Royal Caribbean. In fact, we have a sales team of nearly 600 people around the world whose sole responsibility is to work with travel agents to ensure they have the tools, resources and knowledge they need to represent our brand in the consumer marketplace.
I very much appreciate everything that travel agents bring to the industry; their zest for world travel and the inspiration it brings to consumers. There will always be an important role for travel agents, no matter what changes technology and commerce may bring. I believe their service to our industry, and to the enjoyment of guests, makes them one of the most important assets we have.
Thank you travel agents everywhere, keep up the great work!