While Malaysia was the fastest growing market for Royal Caribbean Cruises for all of Asia last year, much of the country’s meetings and incentive segment has yet to be attracted to cruising.
Sean Treacy, Royal Caribbean Cruises’ managing director, Asia Pacific, revealed that in 2017, the Malaysian market saw more than a double percentage-point growth over 2016. However, most guests were FITs and affinity groups.
This is because there is a low awareness from corporate companies, where they don’t think of cruising as an option for incentive trips and corporate meetings. The segment is still small, as compared to more developed meetings and incentives markets like Indonesia, India and Vietnam.
To grow the business events segment out of Malaysia and Asia-Pacific in general, Royal Caribbean has developed meetings and incentives brochures for its preferred sales agents to show corporate clients.
Another new initiative was inviting select Malaysia-based agents specialising in business events to visit cruise liners when they called at Penang or Port Klang to showcase the ships’ facilities and what could be done onboard for corporate incentives.
Treacy added that staff from the MICE department from Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Miami corporate office were also in Malaysia last month to conduct sales calls for preferred sales agents in Kuala Lumpur, as well as provide appropriate training on how to sell cruises to corporate companies and further entice them on the benefits of cruising versus a land-based holiday. This is the first time that personnel from MICE department have travelled to Malaysia to conduct such agent training.
“We are also exploring the option of having sales resource people based in Kuala Lumpur who are focused on developing the business events segment. They will be reporting to our office in Singapore,” Treacy shared.