Fain lays it on the line

2021-10-28T07:54:33+00:00 October 28th, 2021|Marketing|

Royal Caribbean Group (RCI) Chairman and CEO, Richard Fain (pictured) has said it’s time to move on from COVID-19.

He was speaking via a video link primarily aimed at travel agents, but provided an important insight into what he and the cruise line are thinking about at the moment.

Fain declared that he is going to stop talking about the disease, which is in itself significant since he began issuing video updates during the cruise industry shutdown, due to Covid-19, RCI said in one of its regular blogs.

“The time has come to look forward,” Fain stressed. “The time has come to focus on how we come out of the panic and out of the pandemic, rather than how we should live during it.

“We all need to think differently. Our future becomes clearer every day,” he said.

Fain’s video message came as RCI re-opened its Miami headquarters. While the disease will remain a concern, he felt society had a much better grasp on it becoming controlled, especially with children on the brink of being able to get vaccinated.

“It will continue to produce variants that vex us, but now we understand the main drivers. We know how to control the disease, as it moves from totally uncontrolled spread with a high level of fatalities to a more ubiquitous, ongoing disease that impacts a declining number of people.

“There are likely to be more variants, but they are not likely to upset our ongoing progress, and all of this progress still isn’t going to eliminate COVID, but it should bring it down from being a terrifying pandemic,” he explained.

He also showed a recent map of COVID cases by US counties and contrasted the cases to cruise ships, which he believed have an advantage over land-based comparisons.

“The vast bulk of the people are vaccinated. We can control our sanitation, including air filtration, etc, and we can establish strict protocols. As a result, we can make ships safer than shore based alternatives.

“Although the CDC doesn’t do a comparison, I believe a fair reading of all the data taking into account all the factors would colour this ship blue, which is the lowest category of risk. Certainly better than the bulk of counties in America, and that’s why I’m going to stop talking about the disease,” he said.

He also revealed that a surge in new bookings was coming from online systems rather than travel agents. As a result, he believed now is the time for travel agents to double their efforts to work on selling cruises, since the market is showing signs of people wanting to travel again.

Fain pointed to demand returning by way of more visitors to RCI’s website, along with more calls and bookings made directly with the cruise line.

“We need you, our travel partners, to reach our full potential. Of course, there still will be many who prefer to buy buy online, and the internet does make that very easy.

“Simply put, we need you and we need your personal touch. We need you and your knowledge, and the clients need you to help them understand the complexities,” he said.