Streamlining Loyalty Programs | TravelResearchOnline


Streamlining Loyalty Programs

As you know, Royal Caribbean also owns Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. A unique aspect of this ownership is that the three cruise lines offer reciprocal loyalty program benefits. For example, if you are an Emerald Member with Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society, but you have never sailed with Celebrity Cruises; Celebrity will give you the perks of their Select level of the Captain’s Club because it is the equivalent to Royal Caribbean’s Emerald level.

This has been a nice selling point with my clients. They’re loyal to one particular brand, so they hesitate about sailing another line and “starting over” in a loyalty program. Admittedly, that’s the whole point of any loyalty program – keep them coming back. But offering reciprocal benefits in turn helps us sell those clients on sailing with a sister brand. We must take note, and advise the clients, that although they’ll receive the benefits from the other cruise line, they are “starting over” in moving up in the loyalty program.

Let’s look at the Royal Caribbean loyal client. If they sail on Celebrity they’ll get the Select benefits, but their Celebrity sailing nights will not count towards their Royal Caribbean program (it won’t help them move closer to the more desirable Diamond level). Those nights sailed on Celebrity will now start their accumulation with Celebrity.

Of course, the likelihood is that clients will primarily sail with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. So when they sail out on that once in a lifetime Azamara cruise, having reciprocal benefits is a major selling point.

Recently, Celebrity Cruises started promoting that the three cruise lines would have a Universal Guest Account. I admit, when I read the material they sent out I was excited. I thought this meant I could log into a single account and see ALL of my cruise activity across the three brands. I was wrong. A couple of other travel agents I spoke with had thought that the Universal Guest Account meant that they were merging the three programs so when you sailed on Celebrity it helped you move up with Royal Caribbean, and vice versa. They were wrong too.

The purpose of the Universal Guest Account is so that you can have a single log in user name and password that will automatically work with all three brands. But when you log into Celebrity’s Captain’s Club, you will only see your Celebrity history. The same goes for Royal Caribbean and Azamara Club Cruises. This is a bit disappointing for me, because when I set up my accounts with each cruise line I created the same user name and password with each of them myself. The Universal Guest Account doesn’t offer anything that I hadn’t done already.

As much as I appreciate that they streamlined the log-in process for the three programs, making it easier for some clients, it seems like a lot of hoopla over nothing.

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