Royal Caribbean embraces citizen journalism with 'Reporter at Sea'

MIAMI: Royal Caribbean recently embarked on a global interactive consumer effort to promote the launch of Oasis of the Seas, its largest cruise ship to date.

MIAMI: Royal Caribbean recently embarked on a global interactive effort to promote the launch of Oasis of the Seas, its largest cruise ship to date. The company partnered with USA Today to create a contest inviting citizen journalists to contribute news to the outlet's Cruise Log beginning November 19 when the Oasis takes is inaugural three-day trip.

The company will choose a winner for the "Reporter at Sea" campaign from the US, Canada, Germany, Mexico, and the UK to report from the trip. The "special field correspondents" will have access to the ship's files and interaction with USA Today cruise editor, Gene Sloan.

Royal Caribbean asked participants to audition by posting a a video that showcases their reporting skills on a newly created microsite, reporteratsea.usatoday.com.

“We recently increased activity in the social world and wanted to find something to create buzz and excitement in the space,” said Tracy Quan, director of brand communications at Royal Caribbean. “We hope to create a viral effect.”

She said that most of the launch is focused on PR and social media efforts with "minimal advertising.”

Quan explained that on a daily basis, the team is putting new information on oasisoftheseas.com, Twitter, and Facebook. Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain is also promoting the efforts on his blog.

The cruise line is aided by its AOR for more than 10 years, Weber Shandwick.

“Now people are taking word-of-mouth into huge account when thinking about where consumers are making their travel decisions,” said Erin Burden, VP at WS.

The team announced plans to launch the ship last April by releasing two-minute webisodes on the making of the ship.

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