Royal Caribbean International has concluded a business review that will see the loss of 55 jobs at its Weybridge headquarters, but the expansion of its trade sales team.
The review has led to a number of changes, including a “much stronger” trade sales approach for Royal; the centralisation of some of the company’s “back of house functionality”; and at a corporate level, the three Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd brands: Azamara, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International, becoming “single branded” worldwide.
Royal’s associate vice-president and managing director UK & Ireland, Ben Bouldin has been appointed vice-president for EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), including the UK and Ireland.
The consultation process in the UK has now concluded, but Bouldin explained that no roles “impacting our service to the UK and Irish travel trade” had been affected.
“The [head office] business in Miami has made such massive strides in both technology and artificial intelligence, which has impacted our ability to revenue manage in real time,” said Bouldin.
“This has step changed our capability and changed the models in certain markets.”
He said the affected roles in the UK included revenue management, digital marketing, website management and some PR and brand positions.
There will likely be further job losses overseas too, pending further consultation.
“What I’m essentially building is what I hope to be a real step change in our trade sales agenda across EMEA,” he continued.
“Trade has always been critical to our success and we have always enjoyed a very close relationship with the trade – particularly in the UK.”
Royal will continue to manage some parts of Europe with a “Royal” team: UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Spain. In all other markets the line will now use preferred sales agents.
“We’re still going to manage and grow those markets,” added Bouldin. “We have that model already in countries including South Africa, Israel, the Netherlands and Belgium etc and it works really well.”
Despite these wider changes, Bouldin said the UK and Ireland sales team was likely to get “bigger and sharper”.
“We’re keen to continue the journey we’re on – there’s so much new stuff to get stuck into,” he said, adding: "We really want to get laser focused around Quantum and Oasis class hardware, because you can travel the world with Royal Caribbean on those two ship classes now."
Bouldin concluded: "Good businesses make changes when things are going well.
"Such is the strength of the business we’ve been able to ride out many of the hurdles the world has served up to us. Great credit that the organisation is robust enough for us to do that."
Elsewhere, vice-president, EMEA and managing director of RCL Cruises Ltd, Stuart Leven, has moved to a new role "overseeing business transformation projects".
The line has announced a number of appointments in the past week, including that of former Thomas Cook head of retail Torey Kings-Hodkin to head of key accounts; the promotion of Karen Tucker to the new role of head of field sales (replacing Vicky Billing); and Sean Treacy’s promotion to senior vice-president international.
Royal is recruiting externally for a new key account manager, taking its team from five to six, and “may grow” its team of eight regional sales managers.
Bouldin said while Royal “won’t walk away from retail just because of the Thomas Cook collapse”, due to the “changing dynamics of the high street” it was working to ensure it is “supporting the growth of the key OTAs, tour operators and cruise specialists”.
“We’ve always supported having a broad distribution model in the UK and we’re keen to continue that,” said Bouldin.
“As we add more ships and go to more places and add land-based assets – and as we start to go into much greater granularity of the customer journey – we need more time with our key partners and we need to make sure we facilitate the right amount of time.
“We’re also beefing up our administration and trade marketing capabilities in the office, which is all part of us delivering this amplified sales effort with the trade.”
Bouldin added the line had also brought in some new support to look at sales execution and the effectiveness of its marketing with trade partners.