Royal Caribbean Group Explores Linking Loyalty Programs Across Two Cruise Brands

David Slavick gives insights and views on this journey loyalty story

As reported in Smart Marketer’s weekly Newswire dated January 2, 2024, Royal Caribbean Group, the mother or father firm of Royal Caribbean and Superstar Cruises, is exploring a possible unification of its two loyalty applications. At present, Royal Caribbean Cruises operates the Membership Royale rewards program, whereas Superstar Cruises runs the Blue Chip Membership.

From a “finest practices” viewpoint, the unification appears to be an initiative price exploring as cruise clients would profit from the chance to seamlessly transition between cruise itineraries supplied beneath the Royal Caribbean umbrella whereas benefiting from their loyalty advantages throughout each manufacturers.

Whereas no official announcement has been made, we thought the information represented a strong “case research within the making” and reached out to Journey Loyalty professional David Slavick, CEO Ascendant Loyalty, for remark.

David shares his views under.

Unifying or consolidating two independently run loyalty applications carries many potential advantages for each the visitor and the enterprise. Past what the visitor experiences, the enterprise itself has robust motivation to take action as a technique to cut back working bills and yield a extra worthwhile return to traders.

When contemplating such a big change (whether or not in retail (GAP) resort (Marriott/Sheraton) or cruise line) it does result in vital modifications to the model expertise and requires communications to model lovers having to simply accept change, educating them about their tier standing {qualifications}, unique entry modifications, and new concierge contacts and extra. 

There’s danger concerned in any program re-fresh, however particularly in a class with excessive expectations relative to service, expertise and certainly emotional response the place holidays are involved. To this point, Royal Caribbean and Superstar have operated independently, providing totally different advantages and experiences distinctive to their respective manufacturers. Superstar affords a extra intimate onboard expertise, smaller visitor capability, and caters to an higher revenue/older age demographic whereas Royal Caribbean fills the middle-class demographic, a a lot bigger ship capability, catering to {couples} on their first cruise, households with kids and themed cruises.

Naturally, every demographic can migrate up/down as cruise expertise and itineraries develop into extra engaging primarily based on size, themes, and ports of name. Having the ability to earn advantages that traverse manufacturers with out restriction is a extremely engaging characteristic.

Each manufacturers are supported by Financial institution of America issuing a Signature Visa card which is most engaging in its no payment/surcharges promise when used abroad.

The inquiries to be requested with the last word launch of this new assemble are as follows:

  • Will the worth proposition utilizing the Financial institution of America Signature Visa stay the identical? At present, BofA affords a consolidated, seamless earn/burn of factors good towards onboard advantages. It’s an open earn, however closed burn design the place cardholders spend funds cruise trip experiences on both model – room upgrades, eating, excursions, onboard retail store purchases or spa companies.
  • The branding on the playing cards is exclusive to every cruise line. Maybe a re-issue of the cardboard at launch to all cardholders, or over time as the cardboard nears its expiration is indicated. For each manufacturers a co-brand re-issue may enhance future bookings with a promotional provide when the reservation is made with the popular tender. Bonus factors for spending habits have been used prior to now to encourage activation in addition to incentivize future bookings.
  • For the Royal Caribbean visitors, consolidation is a significant “improve” in cruise expertise ought to they want to migrate as much as the Superstar model.

However let’s deal with the important thing query of “why consolidate”?  What will probably be unified and what could stay unchanged? Maybe expertise could have performed a big function right here the place on the company IT degree, each manufacturers supported by one platform that has a single view of the cruise visitor cross model permits Royal Caribbean Group – the company mother or father, to most effectively and successfully handle the enterprise.

Different potential advantages of a consolidation embrace:

  • Program administration efficiencies
  • Associate administration practices, selections, and choices
  • Onboard income optimization – particularly retail gross sales and on line casino participant optimization
  • Stem attrition or lack of bookings to rivals (MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruises, and so forth.) by providing extra selections with much less restrictions
  • Elevated model consciousness and normal media promotion, positioning and affords

Right now, we don’t know if Royal Caribbean will proceed with a consolidation, but when they do, pay shut consideration to modifications in this system design assemble, how these modifications are communicated to cruise visitors of every model, how factors could develop into transferrable between manufacturers, and what Financial institution of America could resolve a few card product relaunch.

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