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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is introducing a new global reservation system, Espresso, which executives describe as faster, intuitive and more powerful. The end result will make the reservation process more efficient in order to increase the amount of time the agent has to interact with her client — and, in turn, generate more income.
Espresso is tablet-friendly, as the growing millennial segment wants to be part of the selection process and participate with agents, according to Juan Silva, director of trade e-marketing and distribution for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Officially launching in March, the system was designed with agent feedback in mind and extends to all of the Royal Caribbean brands. The current CruiseMatch reservation system will continue, likely for the next three to four months, as travel planners learn the timesaving efficiencies of Espresso.
The new system reduces the steps to make a reservation from seven to five and identifies past guests so travel agents can see their purchase history. Inventory is centralized, and agents can select up to four stateroom categories for quick comparisons.
Espresso also provides side-by-side views of an itinerary to compare individual and group pricing. New deck plans can be searched for available connecting rooms, accessible accommodations and specific locations.
There is no cost involved for agents, and Royal Caribbean did not offer financial incentives for converting to the new system. However, the company is going all out to make the transition as smooth as possible, offering training in a number of different forms.
Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales for Celebrity Cruises, said the goal is to reach and train more than 2,500 travel agents at six training sessions.
Representatives from Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises have already begun offering the four-hour sessions across the country at no cost; these will continue through March. Travel professionals can register online for a 90-minute webinar on Espresso’s website as well. Webinars will be recorded and archived for those who cannot attend and ask questions.
The website also has a three-minute video that introduces agents to Espresso. Fast support is available in a variety of forms to fit agents’ convenience and preferences.