OJ Exclusive: RCI CEO Bayley Sees Canadian Growth Opportunity
Nina Slawek, Open Jaw
The strength of the U.S. dollar has hampered cruising’s growth in Canada, Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO told Open Jaw’s Nina Slawek in an exclusive interview aboard Symphony Of The Seas.
“The Canadian cruise market is a good market for us. (But) it’s a market that has not been growing at a rapid rate when you compare it to other markets around the world. As the U.S. dollar has strengthened, our pricing seems higher in the Canadian market. So that’s a bit of a challenge,” Bayley said.
A challenge, but one Bayley believes can be surmounted.
“But yet again I think we see opportunity in the Canadian market, that’s why we’re expanding our sales organization in the Canadian market. And I think currency is something that will eventually turn around.”
Royal Caribbean International is making an investment in its North American field sales organization by adding almost 20 employees.
Bayley says the move represents solid business logic, not a shift towards the retail channel.
“We’re not shifting. We’ve always had a total commitment to our trade partners. We are never going to change that. We are fully committed.”
The CEO says meeting consumers wherever they choose to purchase is key to success.
“As the business grows and we keep adding more ships, our philosophy has always been ‘channel of choice.’ When you’re accessing a market, customers want to be able to purchase whatever their vacation is through whatever channel they want. This year we’re expanding our sales support team and our sales team in the market, specifically because we are growing the market.”
A bigger pie means a bigger slice for various channels, Bayley says.
“I know, people sometimes get skittish – ‘Well, direct is growing.’ And that’s right. Direct is growing. But so is our business through our trade partners. Our philosophy has been to optimize each channel. We want our trade partner channel to be the best there possibly is. And that’s why this year we’re investing significantly more in sales support, our sales team and sales managers.”
Nina Slawek President
The visionary co-founder of Open Jaw, Nina handles everything at OJ from the purse-strings to the talented but eccentric staff. She is frequently spotted hobnobbing with industry leaders and making glamorous appearances in the Open Jaw TV Room.