Royal Caribbean anticipates travel agency consolidation

After the coronavirus crisis, there may be fewer travel
agencies due to consolidation and more advisors working from home, Royal
Caribbean executives said on Monday. 

During a virtual media roundtable, Royal Caribbean
International senior vice president of sales, trade support and service Vicki
Freed, said, “None of us have a crystal ball but I think on the top end, you’ll
see consolidation of retail locations,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean execs anticipate an increase in
home-based workers, including independent contractors. 

“I think the home-based type of setup for travel advisors
will likely grow even more than it was,” said Azamara COO Carol Cabezas.

Although she anticipates fewer travel agents working in
retail locations, Freed indicated that the number of agents could be relatively
unchanged post-coronavirus, although it could take some time to ramp up to that

“As we reintroduce cruising to so many people, I think in
time they will grow their business back,” Freed said.

Royal Caribbean is guiding travel agents about relief
options available to small businesses and individuals in the Cares Act. Royal
Caribbean calls its education program RCL Cares, and the company launched the
effort to help keep its sales force intact. 

“We want to make sure we have a healthy distribution system
that is going to be part of our future,” Freed said.  

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