Royal Caribbean International has cranked up its marketing efforts in Malaysia and Indonesia in a bid to unlock the enormous potential of the two countries.
And it is targeting travel agents with education and training.
Sean Treacy, managing director Asia Pacific told ASEAN Cruise News: “A small number of Indonesians and Malaysians cruise, yet they are the biggest in-bound tourists into Singapore.”
“Less than 50,000 Indonesians are cruisers. Given the country’s total population of more than 250 million, Indonesia is a very exciting market with huge potential.”
“Malaysia is another big market and we have been investing a lot in the country by taking out advertisements in cinemas, print and online. We are also sponsors of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) trade fair.
We are seeing growth in the number of cruisers from Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines but from a small base,’’ he said.
To service the expanding business in Asia, RCL has strengthened its development and training with travel agents.
About 80 per cent of RCL sales come from travel agents and up to 3000 agents sell RCL cruise itineraries.
“There is a misconception that cruising is only for retirees and is quite expensive.
There’s a lot to understand about the cruise industry so the company has invested in an easy-to-use Expresso booking system and launched an online e-magazine called Royalogue for travel agents which focus on new itineraries and special discounts.
We hold in-house seminars and get agents to do famils on our ships so that they can better understand the product they are selling including the meals and entertainment on board.
We also run several competitions for travel agents with attractive prizes such as free cruises and shopping vouchers.’’
Mr Treacy said that over Chinese New Year, the company hosts trade dinners to bond with agents.
He is also hopeful that Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia will take its best practice training program to Asia in the near future.
He says that India is the next biggest cruise market for RCL.
There are about 100,000 cruisers in India and RCL has been working with Tirun Travel Marketing to sell and market cruise to the Indian travel trade across the country.
RCL has six ships homeported in Southeast Asia including Mariner of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, Celebrity Millenium, Celebrity Constellation and Azamara Journey.
The line has been in Asia for 10 years.