Richard (Rick) Adams is the captain of Royal Caribbean Cruises e-business strategy. He joined the company in May 2000 from IBM, where he had a 19-year career in sales and senior management. Adams last assignment at IBM was as vice president of e-commerce solutions sales. Royal Caribbean began allowing customers to book cruises online in May 2000. Adams recently spoke with Section B Editor Mel Duvall.
How much business is Royal Caribbean currently doing online?
Weve been very pleased with our online bookings, and especially pleased with the amount of business were doing in shore excursion bookings. But were trying to strike a healthy balance that allows us to remain loyal to our travel agent partners and offer our customers a choice.
What does the revenue split look like now?
Greater than 95 percent of our business still comes in through travel agents, partly because its booked along with flights. So we dont want to rock that boat. Over time, though, we would like to see about 30 percent of our revenue coming directly [through the Web site], or indirectly through the Internet [through travel agent affiliates].
You are currently investing millions in a new customer relationship management system. How do you hope to turn that investment into a competitive advantage?
Were hoping that well be able to turn more prospects into customers and turn first-time customers into lifetime loyal customers. By collecting information about their experiences, their wants, needs and preferences, every time they touch us — no matter how they touch us — the more likely well be able to build a lifetime relationship with that customer.