We had a chance to sit down with Oscar Guerrero, Senior Account Executive, Global Marketing at Royal Caribbean and talk to him about how he uses his internal community to ensure his global team communicates effectively.
Q - Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us today. We know Royal Caribbean is in the Cruise business, but can you tell me a bit about you, and your role?
We are the Global Sales and Marketing team based in our headquarters in Miami, Florida. As a global business, we have 12 international offices, spread out in the Americas, Asia and Europe. We also have smaller reps across the different regions of the world. My main function is to support and drive success in all these markets.
Q - What challenges did Royal Caribbean face that influenced you to use a community forum?
Well, with 12 international markets each hosting their own Marketing teams, we needed to create a stronger bridge of communication. We wanted a place to share ideas, have an open dialogue between all markets and break down silos to create an easy one-stop shop to communicate across the world. The community has created much more efficiency in how we operate as a global team. Besides having more exposure to new content and tools, our online community is supporting the international teams be more successful in achieving their Marketing and Sales KPIs.
[pullquote]The community has created much more efficiency in how we operate as a global team.[/pullquote]
Q - What specific results have you seen from implementing a community?
I actually have the perfect example. We are working closely with certain tourism boards in the Middle East. This project requires close and constant communication with several offices in different time zones: the Miami office, China, Germany, UK and India. We were able to create conversations, share creative assets & content, and pose or answer any questions all in one place. There was no need for numerous emails and all teams involved knew where to go to find the most up to date information and content for this project.
Our internal community discussions are helping us meet project deadlines ahead of schedule. The international markets are really catching on!
Q - What unexpected benefits have you realized?
Let me be honest. This project began as something I handed over to one of our interns last summer. I was a bit pessimistic this had no chance to live past her summer gig. I thought the idea overall was bland and would not catch on with the team, especially with our leadership in Miami. How wrong was I! Within the last 6 months, the international teams are more engaged than ever and, to our surprise, a few of the Miami departments have expressed interest in getting involved with the community. For example, our Shore Excursions team now has their own category within the community and we’re looking towards expanding more. We are extremely pleased how our internal community took off and the growth of engagement. Not only do we have a high number of active users, it’s being mentioned in internal e-mails as an important source to find marketing and sales content.
Q - What is you best advice for other community managers? What is something you wish you knew when you started?
Let me start with the second part of your question. I am new to the online community world. When I took over this project, I had absolutely no idea what it meant to manage a community. As someone not familiar with online community management, I harmlessly (or not so much) followed what was already in place within the tool. I quickly realized it was time to learn more. I bought a book on community management and did my reading. Turns out it is much more complex to build a community and manage it than I ever thought before. But it has been a great skill to add to my repertoire and I’m happy to have learned more about online communities and the impact they can have, if done correctly. This is especially important with how we interact with social spaces these days.
[pullquote]I would recommend to any global organization team to consider adding an internal community...If done diligently with constructive, consistent feedback, an internal community has the potential to do wonderful things.[/pullquote]
As for best advice, I think it’s important to keep experimenting, stay curious and above all, constantly seek feedback from your community. You have to remember it's not what you like, it’s what your community likes. You have to look at what's working and what’s not. Do you need create specific categories? Or change how they work? Is the content being shared relevant to your audience or does it need to do more?
With our community, the look and feel has changed more than I can remember. What is great is how customizable it is and how it allowed for so many options to drive user experience. We have received great feedback on how we were able to give it a real Royal Caribbean look and feel.
If nothing else, I would recommend to any global organization team to consider adding an internal community. We’re always looking for breakthroughs. If done diligently with constructive, consistent feedback, an internal community has the potential to do wonderful things.
We want to thank Oscar for his time. As this is an internal community we aren’t able to share a link, but if you’d like to learn more about cruising with Royal Caribbean, check out their website here.