Promise keepers: Renaissance renews vows


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Renaissance Cruises co-chief executive Frank Del Rio renewed his vows to agents, promising commission and consumer-price guarantees and a program for agents to earn free cruises.

He also renewed his commitment to advertising practices that refer clients to agents.

Del Rio's comments were met with applause from agents at the annual Leisure Travel Conference and Winter Cruise-A-Thon, co-sponsored by Cruise Lines International Association and Travel Trade.

Del Rio began his talk with yet another apology for the line's four-year bypass strategy, but said the apologies will end soon because "we're going to put all this behind us" in the new year.

"From now on we're going to do right by you, he said. "I'm betting on you to forgive what we've done in the past and give us another opportunity to come back and partner with you."

Here how he described the line's new and renewed programs for agents:

  • Price and commission guarantees. Full details are expected later this week, but Del Rio said, "The guarantee will give you and your customers the utmost confidence to book your cruises early, knowing that your clients will always pay the lowest prices ever offered -- and that you will earn the highest commissions possible."
  • Saying that the program was developed from agent input, he explained: "You said you were tired of losing credibility with your customers, tired of losing your commission dollars."

  • Free cruises. Renaissance next year will offer agents a free cruise-day for every cruise they book. The program, to be called, "You Sell, You Sail," is in addition to Renaissance's regular familiarization-trip program, he said.
  • Advertising support. Del Rio also told agents the line would spend a record $60 million on "exciting and compelling" national, regional and co-op advertising, and promotions designed "to drive qualified prospects to your phones and to your door."
  • Del Rio added, "I have the support of my board and the mandate of my shareholders that every Renaissance advertisement and booking opportunity will always encourage customers to book from you, the travel professional."

    In a separate appearance at a panel discussion, Del Rio disclosed that Renaissance's once feared consumer-booking engine on its Web site was a flop.

    After spending nearly $2 million promoting the Web site on AOL and Yahoo, business peaked in April 1999 at a "whopping" 6% of total bookings, he said caustically.

    By contrast, Del Rio reported that Renaissance's business with agents has quadrupled in the last five months and continues to grow.

    He later told Travel Weekly that agent bookings are growing "much faster than we had hoped," and are approaching 75% of total sales. He said the line's target is the "industry standard" of 90% or more.


    From Our Partners

    Crystal Cruises – What’s Next, 2020 & the 30th Anniversary Collection
    Crystal Cruises – What’s Next, 2020 & the 30th Anniversary Collection
    Watch Now
    Capitalizing on a Peak Year for Alaska Cruising
    Read More
    2020 Elite Island Webinar
    More Family Fun in St. Lucia @ St. James’s Club Morgan Bay
    Register Now

    JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI