Royal Caribbean Group Reservation
There was a little confusion when I first contact the Group Department at Royal Caribbean. Well, hold on, I guess I should say, there was a little confusion following my first contact with the Group Department. Don't let that scare you though, because based upon my experiences this far, the Group Department has been absolutely amazing - quite possibly one of the smoothest parts of all of my planning.
Here are some things you should know:
To be able to book a Group through the Group Department, you must book a minimum of 8 rooms.
Don't put much thought into the special discount they give your group because it only lasts for about 30 days. They can't extend the discount. This didn't seem to make sense to me because I hadn't even sent out wedding invitations yet, nor was I going to for a couple months, so by the time I send them out, the special rate wouldn't be accurate.
Don't include pricing on your wedding invitations because it will constantly change.
I was given the name of my Group Agent along with her phone extension, but I was never able to get through to her extension. Come to find out, that wasn't a problem at all. Each person who answered the phone was always happy and willing to help me.
The block of rooms that they hold for your group can only be held for a certain amount of time so while it sounds great that all of your guests can be together, unless everyone books within the 30 (or so) days of the creation of your Group, they will release the block of rooms. I was able to keep our website update with the rooms booked in case anyone wanted to be near someone else. Come to find out, no one really cared. The only ones that cared, made sure to find out from their friend which room they were in so they could be near each other.
There are two sets of pricing. This is good information to have for after your special group rate expires. When booking through the group department, they can either give you the standard promotion that Royal Caribbean is running at that time, or they can give you Royal Caribbean's group rate discount. Because of fluctuation, sometimes one deal is better than the other and other times, it's the other way around. Urge your guests to call the Group Department to make their reservation because that department will give them their best option price wise.
Your guests do no have to book through the group department. They can book online. They can also book through a travel agent. While online booking or using a travel agent might be easier for your guests, it can be extra steps for you. I kept a spread sheet of all of my guests booking info because it made it easy for me to track who booked, who hasn't booked yet, who is in what room, etc.
If your guest books online, have them provide you with the main name on the booking and the reservation number. You can then call Royal Caribbean's group department, tell them one of your guests booked online and that you'd like to get them added to your group. These is where I can't speak highly enough of the Group Department. I've had to do this 10+ times and each time they make it very easy for me. Takes less than 15 minutes to get this done.
If your guest books through a travel agency. The travel agent will need to send a correspondence to Royal Caribbean releasing their reservation to Royal Caribbean. Ask your guest to provide you with a copy of that letter for reference. Give it about 6 weeks, then call Royal Caribbean's Group Department and tell them you guest booked through a travel agent and that they agent sent a letter on ___ releasing the reservation to Royal Caribbean so you'd like to get them added to the group.
From my 18 months of watching Royal Caribbean's pricing, the best deal I ever came across was 30% off both guests.
$500 deposit has to be made on the stateroom for your guest to be eligible to be added to your group. Royal Caribbean offered 50% deposit specials that some of our guests took advantage of so they could lock down the room they wanted. Once they paid the other 50% deposit, I was able to call Royal Caribbean and ask them to add a guest to our group. I did this 3 times.
As the Group Leader, you can earn credits (Tour Conductor Credit) for rooms booked. This part is really confusing so let me simply explain my situation. For every 8 rooms book, I'd get credit for one berth (base price person) for the highest average room category booked. i.e.: If I have 16 rooms booked, and 9 of them are balcony rooms with the base price of $875, I will get 2 credits, so I will get a credit of $1750.
Stay in contact with your guests. It's helpful to know who is booking and when. I say this because the last thing you want is one of your guests to not be added as part of the Group because then their room won't count towards your credit.
You also want them to be added as part of the Group because in my case, each of my Group staterooms will be getting a $75 on board room credit. I wish I could tell you why, but I don't remember why they are getting such on board credit.
When your guests book as part of the Group, in the middle of the night Royal Caribbean will generate a receipt and automatically email it to you with their name and how much they paid on the room.
My most favorite document that they can send you is the Group Financial Status. This will show you each person in your group. The stateroom they are in. The amount of the room. The discount they received/promotion they received. How much they have already paid. What they owe. If they added airfare through Royal Caribbean, etc. It's a pretty cool document but you have to request that from Royal Caribbean. They don't automatically email it to you without requesting it. It also gives you an overview of how much your group is spending as a whole. It shows your Tour Conductor Credit.
BEST PART YET (for our guests especially) - if you notice that your guests booked when it was one promotion and now Royal Caribbean is having an even better promotion, tell your guest to call Royal Caribbean and ask to see if the new price is better. Royal Caribbean is fantastic about adjusting your price. One promotion saved 3 different guests about $200 from what they originally were going to pay. It saved one of my guests over $600 from what the room cost when they first booked. It might be annoying, but your guests will thank you for keeping an eye out.
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