Ben Bouldin, associate vice-president and managing director for the UK and Ireland, told TTG the move had allowed Royal Caribbean to “elongate our spend” and invest more money with its trade partners as a result.
“We spent a massive amount of money with our trade partners on collaboratively-built marketing campaigns and we’ve done a lot of digital marketing as we feel like that is the real way forward,” he explained.
The line’s ‘This is how to holiday’ campaign was spread across digital, radio and video-on-demand advertising as well as featuring in outdoor public areas.
“We’re not Pepsi, we’re not Coke, we’re not even a P&O [and] we do not have big above the line media budgets,” Bouldin said. “We have, albeit larger budgets compared to other travel companies, but versus others who do TV really, really well it’s a struggle to get good cut through.
“Our aspirations around the quality and creativity of our ads outweigh what we can actually do so we just decided this year that instead of tying all our money up in a two-week TV campaign, we can give ourselves a longer campaign and think about it differently.”
Bouldin admitted that the line had started the first week of January “a little bit slower” than in previous years but had “just come storming through late January”, adding: “We’re trading really well and it’s been an excellent wave for us."
“[Dropping TV advertising] was a punchy move according to some, a brave move by others, but it’s worked well.”
Discussing the line’s upcoming summer season, which features the launch of fourth Oasis-class ship Symphony of the Seas and relaunch of Independence of the Seas following its modernisation, Bouldin said the line was “absolutely confident” of selling the extra volume entering the marketplace.