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princevaliantus

Royal Caribbean to remove onboard credit offer from non-refundable fares ???

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Suppose there is a cruise that has a $1300 fare that comes with $100 on-board credit (I'm just making up these numbers)

Then the prices go up. Do I care whether it goes to $1450 with $100 OBC, or if it goes to $1350 but zero OBC? No, I do not care; either way, I have to pay $150 more than otherwise. In fact, I actually prefer the zero OBC, because that will make it a little easier to meet the payment deadlines. (And people who plan to spend zero on board will certainly prefer that setup.)

Or maybe I just don't understand what the attraction of on-board credit is to begin with...

 

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My first reaction was negative as well. But the press release did say something to the effect that fares would be lower instead. Hopefully that’s turns out to be true and not just PR talk.

If it ends up being true that fares will be lower, I really don’t care. If it turns out to be not true, then yes it would be very disappointing and a big negative as they are eliminating a perk to save money.

i also was thinking that it’s possible travel agents would give OBC still to make people happy as a perk.

 

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18 minutes ago, Oliver Max said:

My first reaction was negative as well. But the press release did say something to the effect that fares would be lower instead. Hopefully that’s turns out to be true and not just PR talk.

If it ends up being true that fares will be lower, I really don’t care. If it turns out to be not true, then yes it would be very disappointing and a big negative as they are eliminating a perk to save money.

i also was thinking that it’s possible travel agents would give OBC still to make people happy as a perk.

 

It's PR Talk. Whether anyone sees it or refuses to see it, RCCL has reduced many benefits/perks/etc. lately but their pricing scheme has always gone up. If RCCL doesn't show their appreciation to their respective loyal D+ and others, what's the purpose and/or difference in sailing between RCCL and Celebrity, for example??   The whole idea of this latest stunt is IF RCCL keeps true to what has been stated, we shall all see where the pricing scheme will be. Per a personal insight, I was informed that there were not going to be any drastic pricing changes in the favor of the cruisers with this new stunt, and that RCCL will be implementing new fees which won't make us happy. I'm waiting to see what exactly these new fees are and when they are going to be released.

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IF IF IF IF IF.....they LOWER prices like they claim as a result of removing OBC...then I am all for it. It makes it easier to compare and track etc.

 

However, me thinks this is not the case with Royal. Based on everything they have done when it comes to costs and perks and incentives and increasing costs for everything in the past couple years..I am very very very very skeptical.

 

My prediction is that perhaps for the first cpl mths or so they MAY have some lower prices, but before you know it they will have crept back up and no OBC incentive.

 

I hope I am wrong......wrong I am not usually... :(

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4 minutes ago, monctonguy said:

IF IF IF IF IF.....they LOWER prices like they claim as a result of removing OBC...then I am all for it. It makes it easier to compare and track etc.

 

However, me thinks this is not the case with Royal. Based on everything they have done when it comes to costs and perks and incentives and increasing costs for everything in the past couple years..Ii am very very very very skeptical.

 

My prediction is that perhaps for the firstcCpl mths or so they MAY have some lower prices, but before you know it they will have crept back up and no OBC incentive.

 

I hope I am wrong......wrong I am not usually... :(

Well put and I concur!!

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2 hours ago, Keeves said:

(And people who plan to spend zero on board will certainly prefer that setup.)

 

 

Who are these people?  These are probably the same people that can keep wine in their house.  When I go to someone's house and they have a plethora of wine, I am like - how do you do that?  We can't keep wine in our house for a collection!!!!  People come over and it gets poured!

But I digress...so I view the people who spend ZERO on board with the same awe.  I can't imagine going on a cruise and NOT having a huge bill at the end!  Much respect to you zero spenders but how do you do that???

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16 minutes ago, jurrjurr said:

Does this mean the promos will be basically "instant" savings?  No more Double Down business. 

Not sure what you're asking. This change means if you book a non-refundable fare, there is no more OBC directly related that cruise fare.

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10 minutes ago, Matt said:

Not sure what you're asking. This change means if you book a non-refundable fare, there is no more OBC directly related that cruise fare.

Question: How does this affect the Next Cruise onboard booking?? If they are not offering OBC onboard, why book onboard??? There goes the incentive to even book onboard. This needs some clarification.  Any input @Matt??

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26 minutes ago, Lindsay said:

I can't imagine going on a cruise and NOT having a huge bill at the end!  Much respect to you zero spenders but how do you do that???

Depending on one's point of view, they are either cheap tightwads or thrifty budgeters. Or maybe they are just good vacation planners.

I would point out that this conversation is NOT about how much one spends beyond the basic cabin price. It's about how much one spends on board, after all the stuff that was purchased before the cruise in the Planner. One can buy all sorts of excursions,  restaurant meals, drink packages, etc, beforehand, and then what else? I'd think that people who are careful with their impulse spending the rest of the year, will do the same thing on vacation, or close to it.

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3 minutes ago, Keeves said:

I'd think that people who are careful with their impulse spending the rest of the year, will do the same thing on vacation, or close to it.

And I do not fall in this category.  LOL!!!!!

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2 hours ago, princevaliantus said:

Question: How does this affect the Next Cruise onboard booking?? If they are not offering OBC onboard, why book onboard??? There goes the incentive to even book onboard. This needs some clarification.  Any input @Matt??

The next cruise OBC is still in play.  It's just the extra $100 OBC that you get from booking a NRD more than 6 months out that they are doing away with.

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Just now, Lovetocruise2002 said:

The next cruise OBC is still in play.  It's just the extra $100 OBC that you get from booking a NRD more than 6 months out that they are doing away with.

Exactly.  No change to the NextCruise bonus OBC.

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3 hours ago, Lindsay said:

Who are these people?  These are probably the same people that can keep wine in their house.  When I go to someone's house and they have a plethora of wine, I am like - how do you do that?  We can't keep wine in our house for a collection!!!!  People come over and it gets poured!

But I digress...so I view the people who spend ZERO on board with the same awe.  I can't imagine going on a cruise and NOT having a huge bill at the end!  Much respect to you zero spenders but how do you do that???

Had 2 bottles of wine in my fridge for over a year!!!  And I am most definitely in the non-impulse spending group!  We’ve prepaid gratuities and deluxe drink package.  Hubby will bring couple hundred to donate to the casino.  I may do a little shopping on board IF they have anything good ON SALE.  Cant imagine a bill of more than 1 or 2 hundred at the end.  I’ll let you know when we get back how I did!!

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Came across this earlier....this was the wording sent to TAs.

“We would like to inform you of an upcoming change to our Non-Refundable Deposit Program, resulting from a review of booking analytics over the past year. Based on this research, the onboard credit earned when booking six months or more prior to sailing will no longer apply. This update will take effect on all new bookings made on or after November 1st, 2018.

We are confident that this change will not impact your business. The Non-Refundable Deposit Program continues to offer the best pricing available — and will always be priced lower than the standard fare during brand promotions.”

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38 minutes ago, princevaliantus said:

For those who want to read the full announcement from Royal, you can download the attachment. It is all there in vague black & white, still leaving some questions unanswered.

Nonrefundable_FAQ_News.pdf

I think this line is the key one:

Quote

Those who book non-refundable deposit fares on-or-after November 1st, 2018 will no longer qualify to earn an onboard credit of up to $100 per stateroom. The onboard credit is combinable with the existing promotional offer available at time of booking, offering your clients the ability to stack on additional savings for the best deal out there.

Note the part about it being combinable with existing promotional offers. So as @Lovetocruise2002 said, all they are really getting rid of is the extra OBC you were previously awarded on top of the current promotion. I think the language for this aspect is pretty clear: You will still get whatever OBC is offered with the current promotion, regardless of whether you book refundable or non-refundable.

Where non-refundable has been changed to (we hope) better differentiate it from the refundable bookings is in exchanging some extra OBC for extra reduction in the booking price. When you figure most people were booking either inside / OV cabins ($25 extra OBC) or balconies ($50 extra), the OBC wasn't going to be a big factor (as the claimed analytics almost certainly showed). $25 in OBC gets you two free drinks, or maybe a discounted cupcake decorating class. Even booking a suite probably didn't make the $100 in extra OBC all that worth it, considering how much more the suite costs up front and the on-board extras all true suites get.

So what did people choose to compare on? Base cost.

I remember at least one person here showing how selecting the refundable rate was moved to the end of the online booking process, where it was now a checkbox that showed the extra cost. And the other thing I remember was that in the example screen shot the extra cost was pretty minimal -- I want to say $35 in that particular case (let's say it was an inside cabin). Well if I'm paying only $35 more for refundable, and "losing" $25 in OBC for an inside room that I may not find terribly valuable, why not have the refundable rate and know I can cancel at any time to get back all of my paid-in money?

That's not what Royal wants. Royal wants more non-refundable bookings that let them say to shareholders, "We have ships already booked at 75% capacity 12 months out, and that translates into X% improved [bookings / assured revenue / forecast onboard spend / etc]." So they'll lower the base rate by a more visible amount, maybe where clicking that checkbox raises the price by $100 instead of $35. That's a bigger psychological barrier for someone to cross, even if they're looking at a sailing 18 months out, especially if they're someone who doesn't spread out the payments and just looks at making one lump payout on final payment date. We won't know until this goes into effect in November, but if they implement it that way and make that price gap psychologically big enough... well, either NRDs will bump up the way they want, or total bookings will go down as passengers balk over being "penalized" for wanting a refundable booking.

Royal wants NRDs, and I don't doubt they are on a road map to make all bookings NRD like a lot of other cruise lines. They have to make people willing to swallow that pill, and giving a bigger price gap between NRD and refundable (where the NRD is at least initially better than it was before) is a pretty smart way to do it.

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We shall see ... personally I always base my decision on net cost of cruise (Fare, less OBC, less any TA OBC) so if they are just lowering the fare instead of offering OBC, then no impact on my analysis ... if they just axe the OBC then the net fare went up and it just increases the likelihood of picking a different cruise/cruise line.

My gut tells me they do the second version and its just a thinly disguised price increase but hey maybe this will be a pleasant surprise for a change ...

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