Royal Caribbean Hong Kong casts wide net in business events sector

Skydiving is one of the unique activities that can be done onboard Royal Caribbean Cruises' Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCCL) Hong Kong is intensifying its courtship of business events in hopes of growing its market share to 5-10 per cent by 2020.

According to new managing director Crystal Campbell, the company has seen considerable MICE business in the past, but its market share remains under five per cent.

Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Quantum of the Seas

She said: “So far, we are working directly with some corporations, helping and educating them on what we offer. Meanwhile, we try to build partnerships by understanding what they do on a yearly basis (when it comes to) rewarding their employees and vendors. From there, we explore how we fit into their overall plans.”

The company is not neglecting trade channels either, and is “devoting a lot more marketing efforts” targeting the MICE divisions of travel intermediaries.

The cruise line is also attempting to get more business through the Corporate Preferred Partner Program, which entitles certain corporations and their employees to discounts.

Moreover, its brand new Royal Incentive Rewards programme enables organisations to reward vendors or employees with individual vouchers. “There is no fixed departure date and clients just tell us when they want to board a cruise ship,” shared Campbell.

For now, RCCL Hong Kong believes shorter cruises are well suited to corporates. Examples include four- or five-night itineraries to Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.

Campbell shared that business enquiries has doubled since she took over last September. Some confirmed bookings include a 3,000-pax charter for a finance company taking the Shanghai-Hong Kong-Shanghai route in late 2020, while a direct selling company has secured a departure for a group of 500.

On the opportunities in full-ship charters, she said: “Although it is not a trend in Hong Kong yet, we have received some enquiries. It’s certainly viable because some companies have their Asia-Pacific base here in the city.”

RCCL Hong Kong wants to cast a wide net, not limited to direct sales, financial and insurance companies which typically bring incentive business.

“We’d like to (reach any organisation that has) distribution and sales arms. We don’t focus solely on large companies. In fact, a big part of MICE business comes from small to medium-size companies. We service groups ranging from 25 to 2,000 guests,” she explained.

Campbell added that as RCCL continues to push boundaries, its cruises will be able to cater to different business event needs.

“The better the technology, the more we can adapt to corporate clients’ expectations.” For example, technology can enable its ships to serve as venues for product presentations and other non-incentive events. With the right technology, clients will be able to “showcase their products in digital manner or use augmented reality to (engage and) communicate with guests.”

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