Cruise operator’s UK boss Ben Bouldin tells Lee Hayhurst how agents are benefitting from it adopting a B2C mindset to its in-house trade technology
A new Royal Caribbean app built for its on-the-road sales reps is helping the cruise line to ramp up face-to-face engagement with high street agents.
The operator says the technology, that helps regional sales managers (RSMs) organise and manage their agent calls, has helped it justify a more than doubling of its workforce to nine.
Ben Bouldin, the operator’s UK managing director, said he would like more and is confident that the professionalisation of the store visit the app has allowed will enable that to happen.
“We are basically applying a classic FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) mind set to how we manage our retail business,” he said.
“We have gone out and said we are going to reinvigorate our sales force. The high street is really important for us, it’s a great source of new to cruise customers.
“From the consortia, to the multiples, even the thousands of individual homeworkers, it’s an environment we want to be part of.”
Bouldin said the app has enabled the line increase the number of UK agents its reps regularly call from the low hundreds to 3,000.
Development began in November 2016 and testing started in April the following year before roll out in June. It was upgraded last October and will be updated again in September.
The app, which works on a tablet issued to sales reps, was built specifically for the UK market but has already been rolled out to France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Australia.
In the UK it is used by the Royal Caribbean brand only because sister lines Celebrity cruises and Azamara Club Cruises operate independently, but in other markets it is tri-branded.
Potentially the technology could also be introduced to Royal Caribbean’s home market the US, its biggest source of clients, and even China.
About the app
• The app introduces consumer-grade easy-to-use functionality and design to the B2B sector.
• It is a bespoke user interface built on customer relationship management software Salesforce, which has been tailored to Royal’s RSMs’ needs.
• Reps use the app to organise everything from the planning of their calls to agreeing action plans with agents and reporting back.
• Users are asked to input store details, its position on the high street and competitors, what it is selling, opportunities to promote Royal Caribbean and brochure requirements.
• It can track store performance as well as individual agent sales through the Club Royal incentive scheme, keep track of who has left and new starters.
• Reps can use it to send promotional materials, create window cards and share promotional videos and other collateral. This can be also be done offline so reps can still do their jobs even in areas with poor connectivity or no Wi-Fi.
Q&A, Harriet Fallon, regional sales manager for London, the southeast and the Channel Islands
Q. The app leaves no hiding place. Does is feel a bit Big Brotherish?
A. If you are doing your job, that should not be a problem. Ben [Bouldin] should know I’m doing the job he has asked me to do.
Q. What’s been the biggest impact of the app on your work?
A. Before, the challenges of being offline meant doing anything took ages. Now, even the first version of the app was so much faster.
Q. What do agents think?
A. The feedback from agents has been fantastic. They are much more engaged because it helps me to do my job more efficiently.
Q. How has it changed your day-to-day job?
A. It’s slicker, so I’m doing a lot less admin, like creating reports in the evenings that I used to have to do. I have a better work-life balance.