New agent booking platform gears up for launch

Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises – are on the final countdown to switching over to a new more intuitive reservations system.
ESPRESSO, a bespoke reservation tool, will replace the former CruiseMatch booking system completely from 1 June 2016. The business first announced the exciting new investment over a year ago, and has spent the last 12 months training agents on how to maximise ESPRESSO.

In additional to training by the on-the-road sales teams of the three cruise lines, almost 600 agents have also attended 50 virtual classes on how to use ESPRESSO to its full potential. Agents have praised ESPRESSO’s ability to handle more than one booking at a time, the deck plans, the speed of the new platform and its predictive nature.

ESPRESSO provides side-by-side comparisons of itineraries, highlights the best possible promotional offers, and can easily display a customer’s history – such as recent promotions sent to them, destination and accommodation preferences – which can then be automatically populated into any new booking. Plus, the new reservations tool is tablet optimised and also features interactive deck plans that highlight the best available staterooms, including those that might be interconnecting or closest-to a specific location. Stateroom photos and layouts are also easily available to view.

Kerry Nicholson, training specialist , Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, explains: “The powerful new ESPRESSO tool has been developed in response to the needs and feedback of our agent partners. We have listened throughout the process and reduced the time and clicks it takes to make a booking. Almost all our UK and Ireland agent partners are using ESPRESSO already, and we have carried out extensive training to ensure that everyone is ready for the final switch over. It’s so exciting to be working with our agent partners to deliver a simpler and more dynamic booking process.”

ESPRESSO is also being rolled out globally by the cruise lines, and has been developed to aid agents in selling more cruises, earning more, and growing their business. Agents already using the new reservations platform have highlighted that the booking time, easier to read deck plans, simple search, and confirming bookings processes have all been greatly enhanced.

Katie Mapstone of commented: “ESPRESSO is a great booking tool and it is very easy to search the cruise dates. I also like the ship deck plans that show exactly which staterooms are available – it just makes life so easy. Getting into a confirmed  booking is very simple too, you just tap in the cruise confirmation number and all the details appear like magic.”

Any agents still using CruiseMatch are urged to switch over to ESPRESSO before the end of May 2016, ahead of the new ESPRESSO reservations system becoming the online booking platform for Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. RCL Cruises Ltd has run the two reservations platforms concurrently for over a year to allow agents to train and gain their confidence on the new system ahead of a switch over.

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