After announcing a very positive outlook for 2017, based partly on Wave
bookings trending "nicely higher" than last year, Royal Caribbean
Chairman/CEO Richard Fain told the financial community: "Over the last
several years our ‘book position’ has gotten better and better. As we've noted,
this year set yet another record."
‘Book position’ refers to the percentage of business already sold for the year
ahead. In recent years cruise lines have worked hard to get guests to book
earlier rather than waiting for last-minute price drops. Fain says the process
has been successful, and the window is now pretty close to optimum.
"A good market helps drive more early bookings, but it is our
revenue management team that have a great deal of control over it as well. My
sense is that the booking window has stretched as far as they will ever want it
Fain told analysts not to expect booking levels to set new records each year,
as revenue managers work to optimize the broad pattern of when and at what
level to take more bookings.
"It is going to depend on a large number of factors, but I don't
expect to announce another record level of bookings a year from today,"