Iglu Cruise, Lees Travel and Imagine Cruising were among the agencies honoured at Royal Caribbean International’s first Trade Partner & Club Royal Awards Ceremony in London last month.
The event was held at the Gherkin, with stand-up comedian Kevin Bridges performing a set before joining associate vice-president and managing director UK & Ireland Ben Bouldin to present the 10 awards, which also recognised Samantha Wilkinson from Delmar World as top Club Royal Ambassador.
Bouldin said the decision to introduce the annual ceremony was inspired by agents, who clearly wanted to be recognised for their volume of sales. “It was clear the value they would place on winning an award from us,” he said.
He also reiterated the line’s desire to work with as many agents as possible. “We want to work with everybody who wants to work with us. We have clear expectations about what we need from our agent partners, but we are nimble and creative, which makes us easy to work with.”
He added: “We want to challenge agents out there to push us harder, faster, quicker. The relationship needs to be about that two-way dialogue. Push us for support as much as we push you.”
This year Club Royal will be rolling out its ‘Surprise and Delight’ trade events regionally. “Our Wonderland pop-up in Covent Garden – based on the Harmony of the Seas restaurant – worked very well, and we are planning seven more events around the country including taking agents to a Little Mix concert in Durham on July 15,” said Bouldin.
There will also be a programme of regional ship visits on offer, with Vision of the Seas sailing two round-Britain cruises this summer.
He promised that Royal’s track record of hosting agents onboard its new ships would continue with the launch of Symphony of the Seas next year. “We will be inviting a good number of agents onboard,” he said.
The full list of winners is as follows. Cruise Specialist of the Year: Iglu; Multiple of the Year: Thomas Cook; Most Improved Agent: Imagine Cruising; Consortia of the Year: Worldchoice Ireland; Agent of the Year Ireland: ClubWorld Travel; Newcomer: Lees Travel; Retail Outlet of the Year: Fahy Travel; Strongest & Most Consistent Growth: World Travel Holdings; Outstanding Contribution (Managing Director’s Award): Cruise.co.uk; Club Royal Ambassador: Samantha Wilkinson, Delmar World.