Two years after it was founded, the newest cruise company in the world Resorts World Cruises has launched a new initiative to help its travel trade partners in India with real-time information to facilitate their operations and cruise bookings.
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday, via video from Singapore, Michael Goh, President, Resorts World Cruises, announced the launch of RW CruiseBuddy, a web portal exclusively for its travel partners.
Goh said that designed with the needs of local travel partners in mind, the innovative and dynamic RW CruiseBuddy web portal will enable travel partners to have direct access to Resorts World Cruises’ real-time inventory and cruise fare information.
He added that with instant access to the latest cabin availability on the Genting Dream and Resorts World One, the user-friendly web portal ensures a convenient and seamless experience for its travel partners. Moreover, the RW CruiseBuddy web portal leverages on Resorts World Cruises Preferred Sales Partners and provides faster response times, further enhancing the efficiency of the process, he told the gathering.
‘‘At Resorts World Cruises, we have soon tremendous growth for the Fly-Cruise sector from India in the past two years of operations. We are committed to further developing the local Fly-Cruise industry in India by investing in the right and most importantly, effective, resources. With the introduction of the RW Cruise Buddy webportal, we want to equip our local travel partners with the necessary tools to boost Fly-Cruise bookings moving forward,’’ said Goh.
According to the cruise operator, at the heart of the RW CruiseBuddy web portal is also a robust Marketing Resource Centre offering a treasure trove of promotional materials and resources. From eye-catching visuals to compelling content, travel partners can conveniently access a rich repository of assets to boost marketing efforts and drive customer engagement.
The company adds that in addition, a special reward point system is being introduced for travel partners via the RW CruiseBuddy web portal as a token of appreciation and to encourage higher usage among the trade. Travel partners earn valuable points with every booking registered within the portal translating into exciting rewards and incentives for redemption, it says.
‘‘With the RW Cruise Buddy web portal now live, we encourage and look forward to more travel partners using the portal features, which will both serve and support them. The introduction of the RW CruiseBuddy portal marks a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to providing unparalleled support and resources to our travel partners. RW CruiseBuddy is set to redefine the way we collaborate, ensuring mutual success in the dynamic world of cruise tourism,’’ said Naresh Rawal, Vice President-Sales & Marketing (India), Resorts World Cruises.
An Indian initiative for Indian travel trade
‘‘RW CruiseBuddy was an initiative taken to address the pain points of a travel partners. It is an initiative by the India team and for the Indian travel partners, that number close to 7,000-odd companies spread all over India. The whole idea was that instead of the travel partners coming to us, we decided to go closer to them. Since we operate a Preferred Sales Agents platform, our travel partners would have the tedious task of approaching different PSAs to get a quote, which is tedious and time taking. Now, with this web portal, we have connected them to real-time information on inventories and they also get the best fares available at that moment,’’ Rawal tells India Outbound.
Rawal says another advantage of the web portal is the ease of access to promotional material and the relevant information of interest to the consumers. “So, now our travel partners can simply log-in to the portal and can actually download images sitting in their office. They can download videos as well as presentations. So, if an agent is located in a small town anywhere in India and if he has a meeting with a MICE client, all he has to do is to download a ready-made presentation and take it to the meeting. And we can also train them to help them with the presentations,’’ adds Rawal.
According to Resorts World Cruises, one of the key reasons behind developing the web portal is to provide complete and real-time transparency on the incentives that agents have earned and to help encash those incentives rapidly.
“The biggest thing is, until now, they have been giving us business as a brand, so I thought it is time for us to give something back to them. So, with this portal, we are now incentivising every booking for them. So they have targets which are defined on the portal itself, and at any time they can check what the targets are and where they stand. Moreover, the targets are now quarterly, not annual and for each quarter that they meet the target, they get more incentive in the following quarters and hence the incentives begin to build up,’’ explains Rawal. He adds that depending on the feedback received from the Indian partners, the web portal would be extended to other countries as well.
Rawal says that the Indian cruise market has evolved tremendously in the past two decades that he has spent in the cruise industry. “When I began, most Indian clients would take the shortest cruise, say two-nights, and in the cheapest accommodation, say the interior staterooms. Today, it is far easier to sell a three-night cruise than a two-nighter because the clients have realised that they cannot even see the whole ship and experience all the activities in two nights,’’ says Rawal.
In terms of post-pandemic revival of cruise travel in India, Rawal says that the cruise industry was a bit slow to revive, but since the second quarter of 2023, it has come back with a bang. He says the recovery was not just in the FIT or family segments but even the MICE and corporate segments have recovered smartly, and which account for a large chunk of the business, adding that the year ahead also looks to be equally promising.
The cruise operator says that with the Genting Dream homeporting in Singapore and the Resorts World One in Hong Kong, vacationers can approach Resorts World Cruises travel partners to find out more about the available Fly-Cruise options and exciting cruise itineraries. These include Genting Dream‘s new season itineraries that start from May 2024 until April 2025 with more convenient timings for embarkation from Singapore three times a week to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Phuket.
The company says that arrival and departure are also better timed to provide vacationers with ample opportunity to enjoy the local day and night attractions at selected destinations.
Besides that, the Resorts World One departing from Hong Kong also sails to popular destinations, including to Okinawa, Vietnam, and Sanya. The company says that Resorts World Cruises packages offer attractive benefits that are inclusive of complimentary dining options, with certified Halal and Vegetarian/Jain cuisine on the Genting Dream, free access to selected on board recreational activities and world class live performances, as well as a wide selection of onboard accommodations.
These include Interior Staterooms, Oceanview and Balcony staterooms. It also comes with an exclusive accommodation. “The Palace” is said to be a luxury ship-within-a ship private all-suite enclave with exclusive restaurant, sundeck, gym and other facilities, including its own 24-hour European-style butler service.