Celebrity Cruises reviews how it supports trade partners

Celebrity Cruises is re-evaluating how it manages its travel partner accounts post-pandemic, according to UK boss Jo Rzymowska.

Speaking at the delivery ceremony of newest Edge-class ship Celebrity Beyond in France on Wednesday, she said: “There has been a lot of change within the travel business. There’s been a reset. We’ve never been one-size-fits-all but we are taking a look at our account management role and seeing if it needs to change as our business partners’ models and personnel have changed.”

Rzymowska added: “There are a lot of new agents coming in. There are also a lot who have been out for a long time who are coming back. And homeworking has become more of a norm across a lot of partners, rather than a set homeworking business.”

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She said there was a need to “go back to basics”, and to “focus on building and re-building confidence, brand knowledge and USPs”.

She added: “We currently have three teams looking after three groups of partners – cruise specialists, retail and luxury. We are now working with our partners and saying ‘Is that the best way to continue?’ Or should we look to adapt to fit the new reality. We have always adapted and changed and we think we might need to again now.”

Rzymowska said she would be replacing Jonny Peat, who is leaving to join the Advantage Travel Partnership, and Ruth Gardiner, who has transferred to sister company Royal Caribbean.

She added that trading was picking up well, boosted by repeat bookings from consumers who tried a cruise for the first time last summer when Celebrity operated domestic sailings around Britain.

“Last year’s UK season brought in new-to-cruise. Over 35% of guests who travelled on those sailings were new to us and a high percentage have booked again,” she said.

“Overall, Celebrity’s standing in the UK market, and awareness of the brand, has really grown. Silhouette is the best-booked ship in the fleet currently.”

She added that moves towards standardised rules across Europe would remove complexity and further boost sales.

“EU Healthy Gateways are looking to simplify things across Europe and that will help,” she said.

Celebrity has six ships sailing in Europe this summer – one fewer than planned. Infinity will now be sailing in the Caribbean and will be the last ship in the fleet to re-enter service in June.

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