RCI’s Bayley Says Despite China Moves, North America Still Key

Cruise Week

Michael Bayle

How does Royal Caribbean overcome the perception by some retailers that RCI is more excited about the challenge in China than North America?


“We need to do a better job of communicating our excitement with the (North) American market," responds Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley. “I think that our announcing Harmony of the Seas is coming into the U.S. market, something that's not only stunning, but is the newest and latest, shows how committed we are to this market."

That being said, Bayley, interviewed during the recent Vacation.com conference, understands the concern. “It's a good point," he says. “So we've developed a strategy over the past 5 months for Royal Caribbean International. A key component to that strategy is (North America). And those announcements will start coming - a series of things that we're doing that I think will clearly demonstrate to our travel partners that we're here to win."

Bayley provides perspective: “This whole thing about China, it's interesting, it's exciting and it raises at times anxiety for everybody because you think 'Well, what does that mean to me?' especially if you don't understand it."

First, he explains there's the big corporate picture: “Apple recently announced [close to] $14 billion net income in a quarter and most of that is coming from huge demand in China. GM, the top car manufacturer in the world, sells more cars in China than America, and on and on and on."

Given that, Bayley says Royal Caribbean would be remiss as a global player not to be in China: “It would be negligent on the part of any business leader to say, 'Oh, let's stay away from that.' I don't think they would be leading any business for long."

China is viewed by Bayley as a massive market for which RCI is well suited. But, he adds, that has nothing to do with the North American market. “So when you're in (North America) and you're a trade partner, in a way, ignore it. It's kind of irrelevant to you."





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