Thursday, 19 June 2014

Royal Caribbean and the next wave of communication

Royal Caribbean and the next wave of communication

By Tom Stieghorst
When cruise lines have something to say to the world, there are a growing number of channels to deliver the message.

An example is the Google Plus Hangout session that Royal Caribbean International used to tout its entertainment program on the Quantum of the Seas.

I wasn’t familiar with Google Plus Hangout, although a (younger) work acquaintance said she used it heavily to plan her recent wedding. It is a mash-up of several Google products that enables 10 people to have a video exchange, while being able to display content on the Internet and holding a simultaneous chat conversation with a (world) wide audience.

I think we’re going to see more of these and less of traditional announcements, media briefings, press releases and the like.

They allow for both the social media component, important for attracting users who swim in that ocean, and a lot of multimedia morsels, such as videos, live webcasting and audio.

Royal reached several audiences at once with its Hangout, including past passengers, the media and interested travel partners.

Those audiences were reflected in the half-dozen people that Royal picked to participate on video feeds, such as an editor from Backstage magazine and a Crown & Anchor Society member.

Also included was a social media “influencer” (someone who is tracked and followed by many devotees of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like) and a former Royal cast member who has moved on to a touring production of “The Book of Mormon.”

It was evident throughout that the Hangout was aimed in part at recruiting new performers. Broadway singer Kristen Chenoweth, the Quantum’s godmother, lent her credibility to the effort, describing how Royal’s entertainment innovations work for the performers as well as for the guests.

Nick Weir, vice president of entertainment at Royal, noted that unlike Broadway, entertainers don’t even have to take a taxi to get to their jobs on a ship.

Las Vegas entertainers were also in Royal’s sights. Weir and Chenoweth twice mentioned the Hyde nightclub at the Bellagio Hotel, which hosted the chat. Along with a full-length Broadway production of “Mamma Mia,” the Quantum will offer acts such as Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns, a band popular in Las Vegas that will appear remotely on video screens in Quantum’s Two70 lounge.

So the Google Plus Hangout, for those who saw it, provided an intriguing new launch pad for Royal’s Quantum entertainment package. Royal may have been first to explore it, but I’m guessing it won’t be the last.