Known as the cruise line that delivers the “wow” by bringing rock-climbing, ice skating and
onboard surfing to cruise ships, Royal Caribbean International decided to extend that experience
to a new summer beverage promotion featuring the world’s five great oceans. The program “Explore the Oceans,” the winner of the 2014 VIBE Vista Award for best hotel, cruise line or casino special event, sponsored by the Patron Spirits Company, is ocean and animal-themed featuring five specialty cocktails and beer bolstered by an employee incentive contest.
One of RCI’s objectives was to offer a unique beverage experience featuring cocktails and beers that reflect the world’s amazing oceans and marine animals. Additional objectives included increasing beverage sales during a slower season while reinforcing Royal’s standard of service and rewarding crew members with prizes based on performance. The promotion objectives were ties into Royal’s strategic vision to deliver the best vacation experience with service that exceeds expectations. “Explore the Oceans is an engaging promotion designed to help us sell more beverages during the summer months when drink sales often fall off,” said Naomi Celaire-Hettema, beverage operations manager for Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises. “This promotion also compliments Royal’s Save the Waves company-wide philosophy of social responsibility that guides every facet of our business operation.”
Celaire-Hettema worked closely with her team, partner suppliers and MarkeTeam Inc. to produce an ocean-themed concept that features specialty cocktails and beer and an incentive contest to help drive sales. Marketing and point of sale items include program execution guides for managers, various table tops for use in bars and lounges, and materials for the incentive contest. The colorful table top signs showcased the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans with corresponding marine animals, and feature the cocktails displayed in Royal’s souvenir glassware, as well as the five beer options.
Eligible promotional items for the server incentive contest include all five cocktails when sold in
souvenir glassware, and the incentive was tied to beverage service training as it progressed. At the mid-way point of the promotion, managers drew a name for Beats Solo HD Headphones and at the end of the promotion a name was drawn on each ship to win the grand prize, an iPad mini.
In order to comply with Royal’s strict environmental policies, all bottles and aluminum cans used during “Explore the Oceans” promotion were recycled. In addition, all crew members received extensive responsible service training when hired and ongoing training was held biweekly to reinforce Royal’s “Serve Safe” guidelines.
The pricing strategy was based on historical pricing, with the souvenir glassware priced at $2.75 each in combination with the drink price. Overall beverage revenue increased by four percent during the promotion which was mainly driven by the combination of cocktails and beers. “Royal’s Explore the Oceans beverage promotion is one of our most successful promos ever,” said Celaire-Hettema. “Thanks to our talented crew members and a great selection of drinks, we are able to reinforce Royal’s respect and environmental commitment to the great oceans of the world plus strengthen our strategic vision to deliver the best vacation experience with service that exceeds expectations.”