When the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act legislation was signed into law on Friday, March 27, RCL’s sales teams were already at work forging a plan to support our travel partners. By Sunday, the teams had decided on a path forward and, on Monday, virtual trainings and conference calls prepared RCL agents for how they could best assist partners in receiving maximum benefits. The result was the RCL Cares program, launched March 31.
Assisting travel professionals in the U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. territories, and Canada, the RCL Cares program immediately proved popular, with more than 3,000 advisors reaching out in its first week. Now closing its second week, that number has risen to more than 4,900, plus more than 1,400 individual calls.
“We are so proud of ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors) getting agents into the bill,” said Vicki Freed, SVP sales and trade support & service, Royal Caribbean International. “We decided right away we wanted to assist, not just in words but in actions.”
We have proven time and time again our dedication to providing humanitarian aid in times of crisis. Typically, that means supporting communities in relief and recovery following natural disasters. But the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis is a new kind of disaster threatening the health, safety, and livelihoods of all, and it calls for a creative response.
“RCL Cares was created to support our valued Travel Advisors through these unprecedented times,” said Dondra Ritzenthaler, SVP sales and trade support & service, Celebrity Cruises. “We have been true partners with the trade from the beginning and we will continue to support this very valuable channel as we navigate into calmer waters. They will be a critical part of our future success and assisting them with the CARES Act ensures their viability today and in the future.”
The program offers a variety of services to help educate travel partners as they wade through the myriad government benefits and programs, especially navigating small business relief through the CARES Act. These services include one-on-one assistance and access to key resources, as well as the latest information pertaining to available recovery benefits. The educational support includes explainers about the new law, Q&As, and one-on-one assistance through a resource desk. The program does not provide legal advice.
Behind RCL Cares’ personalized services is our dedicated sales organizations. Together, all our brands are guiding travel advisors through the information about the CARES Act as they consider options for economic relief.
Travel professionals can get started with RCL Cares at CruisingPower.com, where they can access highlights of the CARES Act, FAQs, Small Business Association resources and tips. The program will also continue to introduce new services and tools to help travel partners during this difficult time.