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Royal Caribbean’s Martin MacKinnon: The importance of consumer insight

Royal Caribbean, cruise, Martin MacKinnon, travel, Perfect Day at CocoCay

Royal Caribbean International’s sales director, Martin MacKinnon, explains why consumer insight is critical to boosting trade partnerships.

My ambition since joining the Royal Caribbean team earlier this year has been to really grasp how we can help travel agents sell our cruises and it’s clear that there is an opportunity to broaden our UK and Ireland customer market far beyond where it is now.

One of the ways we can offer our support is by equipping agents with robust consumer insight. This year our new insights team – led by director Stuart Byron – began a ‘deep-dive’ into existing and potential Royal Caribbean customers in the UK and Ireland; extracting and compiling data to build four consumer profiles. This research is being used to develop all areas of our business and will be invaluable to our trade partnerships.

Broad brush-strokes are no longer enough when it comes to approaching our target audience; there’s a necessity now for personalisation that goes way beyond a guest name in an email.

Not only can we use data to help partners more effectively target existing clients, but it enables us to reach the holy grail, new-to-cruise audience, stealing would-be cruisers from our land-based competitors. Also, when speaking to a partner, we can look at the demographic of their consumers and suggest which products might be most suitable.

Royal Caribbean, Perfect Day at CocoCay, cruise, travel
Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay

The right cruise for the right guest

By analysing new information we’re able to build insight that helps trade partners to sell more holidays and match the right customer to the right product, therefore maximising guest satisfaction and driving repeat business.

For Royal Caribbean this insight can be applied to guests considering our product offering for 2020, whether it’s adventure, culture or family fun. Next year the Oasis-class ship Allure of the Seas will undergo a 58-day, $165 million transformation before arriving in Barcelona in May to sail the Western Mediterranean.

Meanwhile the Caribbean continues to offer year-round itineraries with Perfect Day at CocoCay, our exclusive island being one of the must-visit attractions – its Coco Beach Club, overwater cabanas and South Beach will all open this year. Anthem of the Seas will also make her much anticipated return to the UK for the 2020 summer season, offering holidays with the advantage of sailing from Southampton.

It’s only by really knowing and understanding potential guests that agents can reach them effectively – a full grasp of their mindset, what makes them tick, their purchasing habits and preferences.

Whether it’s knowing what media they consume, what brands they aspire to or what their perfect holiday is, all these elements shape the consumer profile. Now that we understand this information, we’re in a much stronger position to influence and appeal to future guests.

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