The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents - The Resource for Agents on Ocean Cruise Line Policies - Travel Market Report
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The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents The Resource for Agents on Ocean Cruise Line Policies 2017-2018
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Letter from the Editor 2017-2018 Dear Travel Agent, Welcome to the second edition of Travel Market Report’s Supplier Report Card for Ocean Cruise Lines, our inside look at the practices of cruise lines. Our inaugural edition of The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents was published in early 2017. This edition, which follows The River Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents that was published in early January, includes up-to-date information, different editorials, and more cruise lines than last year’s edition (Azamara Club Cruises, and Seabourn have been added). All of these report cards seek out information about how the major suppliers in each sector of our industry interact with their most important partners, the travel professionals. With this edition, we hope to provide you with a resource you can use when dealing with your clients who are booking ocean sailings all over the world. We want you to know which suppliers truly have your best interest in mind. We invite you to take a look and to keep a copy at your desk during your day-to-day dealings with clients and suppliers. Not all of the cruise lines we invited to participate chose to do so, but we’re still very excited to show you just how valuable you are to the biggest companies in travel. We also invite you to write us if you experience a different policy than what the cruise lines listed in the following pages. Sincerely, Daniel McCarthy Editor-in-Chief
Table of contents The Ocean Cruise Report Card Letter from the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Chart One: Sales Percentage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Chart Two: Commission Percentage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents Chart Three: Commission Types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-11 Chart Four: Cruise Accreditation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-13 Editorial: How Important is Training to Agent Success? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Chart Five: Commission Payment Schedules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Chart Six: Overbooking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Chart Seven: Non-Commissionable Fees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Editorial: Selling Ocean Cruises: Part 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Chart Eight: Website and Commission Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-29 Editorial: Selling Ocean Cruises: Part 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Chart Nine: Co-op Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Chart Ten: Referral Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 5 Chart Eleven: Fam Trip Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Chart Twelve: Types of Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Editorial: Cruise Lines Reveal New Products Debuting in 2018 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Chart Thirteen: How to Sell More Cruises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 participating suppliers
chart 01 sales percentage Despite an increase in online bookings in other segments of the industry, travel agents continue to be the most important distribution channel for cruise lines everywhere. Here’s what cruise lines had to say about how much of their sales come from agents: sales percentage Ocean What percentage of your sales are from travel agents? Cruise Line Azamara Club Cruises 88% Carnival Cruise Line Declined to answer. Celebrity Cruises Vast majority Crystal Cruises Crystal has one of the highest percentages of business from travel agents of any cruise line. MSC Cruises Approximately 80% Norwegian Cruise Line Vast majority Oceania Cruises 95% Paul Gauguin Cruises 90% Regent Seven Seas Cruises 80% Royal Caribbean International Vast majority Seabourn Approximately 90% Silversea Cruises 80%-85% Viking Ocean The majority of Viking’s business comes from travel agents. Windstar Cruises Travel agents are Windstar’s largest and most important distribution channel.
chart 02 The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents commission percentage Ocean Is there a maximum What is your base commission commission percentage you pay? percentage? Cruise Line If so, what is it? Azamara Club Cruises 10% 16% Carnival Cruise Line 10% 16% Celebrity Cruises 10% 16% 7 10% for non-affiliated, Crystal Cruises 12% for Crystal-affiliated consortia agencies. 17% MSC Cruises 10% 17% Norwegian Cruise Line 10% Tiered, based on revenue productivity. Oceania Cruises 10% 17% Paul Gauguin Cruises 10% 15% Regent Seven Seas Cruises 10% 17% Royal Caribbean International 10% 16% Seabourn 10% 16% Silversea Cruises 10% No Viking Ocean 12% 18% Windstar Cruises 10% Declined to answer.
chart 03 commission types Ocean Base Cruise Fare Government Taxes Ancillary Services Spa Services Dining Packages Cruise Line Azamara Club Cruises N/A Carnival Cruise Line N/A Celebrity Cruises Crystal Cruises Some Not offered MSC Cruises 3 3 3 Norwegian Cruise Line 1 Oceania Cruises 4 Paul Gauguin Cruises Regent Seven Seas Cruises 4 Royal Caribbean International Seabourn SOME Silversea Cruises Not offered Viking Ocean Not offered Windstar Cruises 5 Not offered 1 Depending on the service provided. For example, should a 3 If pre-booked and pre-paid client need to rent a mobility scooter, etc., for the cruise, a 4 Included in cruise fare commission would be paid by Special Needs Group, but not NCL. 5 On select packages
chart 03 commission types The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents Ocean Shore Excursions Port Charges Insurance Gratuities Transfers Cruise Line Azamara Club Cruises 6 4 Carnival Cruise Line Celebrity Cruises 6 Sometimes Crystal Cruises 4 4 4 MSC Cruises 3 3 3 Norwegian Cruise Line 2 9 Oceania Cruises Paul Gauguin Cruises Regent Seven Seas Cruises 4 4 4 Royal Caribbean International 7 Seabourn 2 Silversea Cruises 4 Viking Ocean Windstar Cruises N/A 2 If clients purchase a bundle package that includes air and/or 6 On group bookings hotel, transfers, etc. 7 If booked through RCI 3 If pre-booked and pre-paid 4 Included in cruise fare
chart 03 commission types The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents Ocean Airfare Hotel Accommodations Pre- & Post-Trip Tours Other Cruise Line Azamara Club Cruises Carnival Cruise Line Future Cruise Credits Celebrity Cruises Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes Crystal Cruises varies varies MSC Cruises 3 3 3 Norwegian Cruise Line 2 2 2 11 Oceania Cruises 4 Paul Gauguin Cruises Regent Seven Seas Cruises Royal Caribbean International 8 Seabourn Silversea Cruises Viking Ocean Drink pckgs , Windstar Cruises 9 internet pckgs 9 2 If clients purchase a bundle package that includes air and/or 8 Indirectly as the revenue generated from booking air through hotel, transfers, etc. our Air2Sea program is added into the overall revenue generated (cruise + air) by the Travel Agent; therefore, enabling 3 If pre-booked and pre-paid the Travel Agent to reach the next commission tier faster. 4 Included in cruise fare 9 When pre-purchased
chart 04 cruise accreditation Ocean CLIA ARC IATAN Cruise Line Azamara Club Cruises Carnival Cruise Line Celebrity Cruises 2 2 2 Crystal Cruises MSC Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line 3 3 3 Oceania Cruises Paul Gauguin Cruises Regent Seven Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Line 2 2 2 Seabourn 2 2 2 Silversea Cruises Viking Ocean Cruises Windstar 2 Not required 3 With copy of appointment letter or certificate
chart 04 cruise accreditation The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents Ocean ACTA ASTA Consortium Affiliation Other Cruise Line Azamara Club Cruises 7 Carnival Cruise Line 6 Celebrity Cruises Crystal Cruises 1 1 1 TRUE MSC Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line 4 3 13 Oceania Cruises 1 1 1 Paul Gauguin Cruises Regent Seven Seas 5 Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Seabourn 2 2 2 8 Silversea Cruises TRUE Viking Ocean Crusies Windstar TRUE 1 With proof of CLIA, ARC or IATAN 5 Any agency with a W-9 and business 7 Agency verification document and valid license qualifies to be a new vendor W-9. 2 Not required 6 TRUE, ABTA, ATOL, ABN, TTA, 8 Business license and pseudo number. 3 With copy of appointment letter Travel Business License or Seller of 4 Need copy of TICO license or GST, Travel License not ACTA membership, although we encourage same
How Important is Training to Agent Success? Vital, Cruise Lines Say by Daniel McCarthy New learning opportunities and incentives for travel agents are being offered by almost all of the ocean cruise lines. With an increasingly crowded market an impactful way that complements insight into MSC’s brand history, in ocean cruises, it’s more important how learning has evolved.” sailing destinations, the MSC than ever for travel agents to get to After graduating the bachelor and Voyagers Club, onboard experiences know ships and itineraries, and learn master levels of Royal Caribbean and more. The academy also offers how to sell them. That’s why almost University, agents will be eligible a forum for all travel agents to pool all ocean cruise lines are upping their to receive a variety of rewards notes and resources, creating an area travel agent training options such as CLIA credits, a Passport to to share knowledge with others in for 2018. Savings booklet, onboard credit, the industry. “Travel agents are our most complimentary VOOM WiFi, and For home-based agents, MSC valued partners, and providing them opportunities to attend Seminars at is also offering one-on-one time with the right tools as well as the Sea and inaugural sailings. with its business development best training is a very important Also this year, MSC Cruises manager team. part of our commitment to their launched its new MSC Academy, “Travel agents stand to gain success,” said Vicki Freed, senior which Senior Vice President of Sales from the rapid growth of the cruise vice president of sales, trade support, Joe Jiffo said, “allows us to educate industry, with more product than and service for Royal Caribbean all travel agents on MSC Cruises’ ever before being introduced to the International. offerings and teach them how to market on an annual basis,” Jiffo This year, Royal Caribbean effectively merchandise the brand.” said. “With new product comes new University, the cruise line’s travel The new program takes agents updates and information, and it’s agent training portal, was relaunched through training courses, quizzes, vital for agents to be properly trained with a new interactive and mobile- and checkpoints that are all designed and kept up-to-date in order to friendly program. According to to get agents up-to-speed on what effectively grow their businesses by Freed, the portal was specifically MSC is offering. offering the right product to redesigned “to be robust and The program offers videos, their clients.” informative while also fun and voiceovers and an audio Also new this year is Norwegian engaging to serve up education in pronunciation guide to give agents Cruise Line’s NCLU, which was
The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents launched just a few months ago. amongst our community skyrocket, The new program, which is mobile- with many partners actively “Travel agents are and tablet-friendly, allows travel participating in discussions of agents to earn four different levels of NCLU content on a daily basis,” our most valued certification — Associate, Bachelor’s, Olivere added. partners, and 15 Master’s, and Ph.D. — depending Carnival Cruise Line also has providing them on courses taken. More than 20 training news for 2018 — a brand electives, including opportunities new GoCCL.com that debuted in with the right tools to earn destination expert status, November 2017. The website now as well as the best are available. has an updated design based on training is a very “The reception from travel travel agent feedback, including an partners has been overwhelmingly improved navigation bar. important part of positive,” Senior Vice President “Agents have really embraced the our commitment to of Sales Camille Olivere told new GoCCL.com. We’ve seen nearly their success.” Travel Market Report. “The new double the users and usage since platform is helping us better serve we launched our completely — Vicki Freed, senior vice our agent community with user- redesigned travel agent portal last president of sales, trade support, and service for friendly, concise courses that feature November,” Adolfo Perez, Carnival Royal Caribbean International. meaningful content that help our Cruise Line’s vice president of sales partners grow their businesses.” and trade marketing, told Travel Also new with NCLU is the NCLU Market Report. Student Union, a private Facebook According to Perez, the “redesign partners,” including interviews with group exclusively for agents enrolled was a true collaboration between our partners and input from thousands in NCLU. “We’ve seen engagement teams and our valued travel agent of agents.
commission schedule Few things are more troubling for agents than having to track down chart 05 commission checks that are due them. Most of the cruise lines maintain a strict schedule for paying agents their fair share. commission payment schedules Ocean What is your schedule for paying travel agents commission? Cruise Line Azamara Club Cruises At final payment for FIT and 30 days after sailing for groups. Weekly schedule for commissions earned. For individual bookings, this occurs once payment is Carnival Cruise Line made against the full gross amount. For group bookings, commission is paid seven days after bookings sail return date. Celebrity Cruises Base commission is paid when booking is paid in full. Crystal Cruises Two weeks before sailing. MSC Cruises For FIT bookings, once final payment is received and for group bookings, two weeks before departure. Norwegian Cruise Line As soon as final payment is made, the commission is automatically sent one week later. Oceania Cruises Commission is paid 30 days prior to sailing. Paul Gauguin Cruises Commissions are paid out two weeks prior to sailing. Regent Seven Seas Commissions are issued starting at 30 days prior to sailing. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Base commission is paid when booking is paid in full. The commission is paid out after the final payment is made. Typically takes 7-10 business days Seabourn to process. Silversea Cruises Approximately 14 days prior to sailing. Viking Ocean Cruises 29 days prior to departure date. Commissions begin processing the week that the cruise departs and is generally received by agents Windstar 2-3 weeks post-cruise departure.
7 out of the 13 lines who responded to whether or not they overbook 7 13 answered “no.” Of the lines who didn’t, all have policies in place that chart 06 look to protect travel agents commission in the event of overbooking. overbooking The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents Overbooking continues to be a major issue in all segments of the travel industry. While many of the lines questioned said they don’t book over capacity, some still do. Here’s the rundown: overbooking Ocean Do you overbook? If so, how do you handle commissions? Cruise Line Azamara Club Cruises No, we do not overbook. Carnival Cruise Line Declined to answer. 17 Celebrity Cruises No, we do not overbook. Crystal Cruises Yes, commission will be paid according to the category paid by the guest. MSC Cruises No, we manage to the ship’s capacity. We conservatively and smartly manage our inventory based on past booking trends and current Norwegian Cruise Line market conditions. Oceania Cruises Yes, commissions are paid on sailed business. Paul Gauguin Cruises No, we do not overbook. Regent Seven Seas Yes, commissions are protected. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line No, we do not overbook. Seabourn Yes, situation is handled on a case-by-case basis. Silversea Cruises N/A Viking Ocean Cruises Minimal overbooking and travel agents don't lose commission due to overbooking. Windstar Cruises Not currently
Out of all the participating ocean cruise lines, only Viking Ocean Cruises sells a fare without any products and services that aren’t commissionable to agents. chart 07 non-commissionable fees No cruise line surveyed pays agents commission on every single item in which The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents they play a role. Here’s what cruise lines don’t pay agents for: non-commissionable fees Ocean Do you offer products & services What services and products to consumers that aren’t are included in your Cruise Line commissionable to travel agents? non-commissionable fees? Anything purchased onboard (except future cruise booked while onboard), ChoiceAir, Azamara Club Cruises airfare, shore excursions or government fees and taxes. Carnival Cruise Line Declined to answer. 19 It's just the non-commissionable portion of Celebrity Cruises the cruise price, it's not specifically to pay for anything. Air and shore excursions on Symphony Crystal Cruises and Serenity. MSC Cruises Anything purchased onboard. Shore excursions, dining packages and Norwegian Cruise Line other add ons that are included in part of a promotion are reflected in the cruise fare. Oceania Cruises Declined to answer. Paul Gauguin Cruises Shore excursions, air and taxes. Regent Seven Seas Government fees and taxes. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Declined to answer. Sebourn Declined to answer. Shore excursions reserved in advance and Silversea Cruises specialty restaurants. Viking Ocean Cruises N/A Windstar Cruises Declined to answer.
Selling Ocean Cruises PART ONE: Issues for Agents by Marilee Crocker Discounting by big box stores and OTAs, a deluge of fare promotions, uncertain geopolitics and catastrophic weather events – these are among challenges facing cruise-selling travel agents. Ocean cruises have long been the Michelle Fee, founder and CEO top of everything.” lifeblood of many leisure travel of Cruise Planners, also cited this Explaining cruise fares or agencies. And for good reason. issue. “Right now, some of the big revised rules to clients is also time- Ocean cruises are a perennially box stores have an advantage. It’s consuming. Libbie Rice, co-president popular product that agents can not just that they’re giving customers of Ensemble Travel Group, cited the count on to deliver high levels rebates on cruise fares; in some recent addition by some cruise lines of customer satisfaction, repeat cases, they’re doing so with credits of nonrefundable deposit fares. “The bookings and steady commissions. or cash cards for use inside their own cruise line might have two prices, But selling ocean cruises isn’t store, she said. “They’re earning one more amenity-driven, one price- always smooth sailing. There are dollars on that, where if we give back driven. First, you have to explain obstacles. Some are a direct result a credit we don’t earn any dollars on that to the consumer. Then, there’s of cruise line practices, while others it. That is not an even playing field.” another layer of ‘if you pay now stem from marketplace conditions. it’s cheaper but it’s nonrefundable.’ We asked executives from six Flood of promotions It’s not a bad thing – agents like agency groups what they consider and fares the nonrefundable fares – but it’s a the top issues currently facing travel Keeping track of multiple cruise line little longer sell time, a little more agents who sell ocean cruises. Here’s promotions and incentives, then explaining,” Rice said. what they said. factoring them all in to find the best value for the client is often daunting Direct bookings Rebating and discounting for agents, said John Lovell, CTC, Persistent consumer misperceptions Rebating by big box stores and OTAs president of Travel Leaders Network about the cost of booking through probably represents the largest & Leisure Group. an agent are a hindrance, Fee said. loss of volume to agencies, said “There’s so many offers out “There’s so many cruisers out Nicole Mazza, chief marketing officer in the marketplace at any given there who feel that by going direct of TRAVELSAVERS, The Affluent time,” Lovell said. “From an agent’s they’re going to get the better Traveler and NEST. “The big box perspective, it’s just a deluge of deal, the better amenity. I feel that retailers and the OTAs continue to be information. Especially in Wave this challenges the travel agent a problem, with them being allowed Season, everybody wants that community the most,” Fee said. “As to rebate and to offer promotions not share of their mind at the same an industry, we need to be doing a in the marketplace or prior to their time. The biggest challenge is better job of coming together and [general] release.” time management and staying on making the public more aware.”
The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents In some cases, the cruise lines Matthew Eichhorst, president of about the benefits of cruising. themselves are the problem. In- Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “Roughly 80 percent of the house sales teams at certain cruise “For example, in the wake of population has never cruised. The lines are overly pushy when it comes the devastating hurricanes last fall, biggest challenge is how to raise to consumer-direct sales, even when customers didn’t have the confidence awareness for the value of a cruise the customer already has a travel to travel to the Caribbean, which vacation with those that have never agent, said Mazza. impacted many travel agents offering cruised, and create excitement and “If the consumer has called the cruises to the region,” he said. demand. To me, it’s the core of 21 cruise line, even if it’s to get a little In the Caribbean example, the everything,” said Daly. information, or if they sign up for media focused on the devastation, “It’s up to [agents] to be active in emails, they get a call within 30 with little if any reporting on the their communities and talking about minutes,” explained Mazza. “Even if many areas that were spared, and it. The best thing you can do as a the client says, ‘I’m working with an that exacerbated the problem. In fact, small business owner is always be agent,’ they are extremely aggressive cruise clients are still confused about a communicator of that product and [with offers].” whether the Caribbean is open for what it provides.” business, said Rice. “Consumers are Global conditions calling trying to understand what’s Continuing to grow From geopolitical turmoil and the status of the Caribbean and is Whether they’re selling cruise terrorism to catastrophic weather, the cruise line going to change or non-cruise vacations, the the unpredictability of global my itinerary.” most pressing issue facing agents conditions is always an issue. today is to grow the business, “Vacation choices are often Attracting non-cruisers said Lovell. influenced by environmental and For Drew Daly, general manager “The true challenge is to remain economic factors. Depending on the of network engagement and relevant. The agent needs to really current state of the world, this can performance for CruiseOne, Dream work hard to attract new clients. impact where customers choose to Vacations and Cruises Inc., the top The business owner is looking for go on vacation, the sort of vacation hurdle facing cruise-selling agents growth. The way you grow is to they choose, or even if they decide also represents their top opportunity attract and maintain new clients on to go on a vacation at all,” said – educating the traveling public an annual basis.”
chart 08 website & commissions Ocean Does your website have a travel agency section that allows agents to register and Does your website offer white-label solutions for travel agents? Cruise Line track bookings and revenue? Azamara Club Cruises Carnival Cruise Line Celebrity Cruises Crystal Cruises 5 MSC Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line Oceania Cruises 17 Paul Gauguin Cruises Regent Seven Seas Cruises Royal Caribbean International Seabourn Silversea Cruises Viking Ocean Windstar Cruises 5 Not currently, but is planned. 17 Bookings tracked not revenue.
chart 08 website & commissions The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents Do you currently take consumer Do you run promotions to Ocean email addresses from travel agent bookings to use for direct-to-consumer encourage consumers to book their next trip onboard and retain Cruise Line marketing campaigns? agent commission? Azamara Club Cruises Carnival Cruise Line 11 Celebrity Cruises Crystal Cruises 11 MSC Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line 23 Oceania Cruises Paul Gauguin Cruises 11 Regent Seven Seas Cruises Royal Caribbean International Seabourn 11 Silversea Cruises Viking Ocean 11 Windstar Cruises 11 11 Only to past guests and we always include a “Contact Your Travel Professional” call to action.
chart 08 website & commissions If you do direct-to-consumer Ocean When marketing to agency clients, do you include the booking agency’s marketing, do you include a “call your travel agent” call to Cruise Line call to action? action all of the time? Azamara Club Cruises N/A Carnival Cruise Line Celebrity Cruises Crystal Cruises MSC Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line 11 Oceania Cruises Paul Gauguin Cruises 1 Regent Seven Seas Cruises Royal Caribbean International Seabourn Silversea Cruises Viking Ocean Windstar Cruises 1 Only if they’re part of the co-op program. 11 Only to past guests and we always include a “Contact Your Travel Professional” call to action.
chart 08 website & commissions The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents Ocean Is your commission range different if an agency belongs to a marketing Do you offer other channels (OTAs, for example) a different Cruise Line group or consortium? commission range? Azamara Club Cruises Declined Declined Carnival Cruise Line to answer to answer Celebrity Cruises Crystal Cruises MSC Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line 25 Oceania Cruises Paul Gauguin Cruises Regent Seven Seas Cruises Royal Caribbean International Seabourn 19 Declined Silversea Cruises to answer Viking Ocean Windstar Cruises 19 Our commission structure ranges from10-16% and changes based on revenue earned, not based on marketing group or consortium.
chart 08 website & commissions Ocean Do you allow agencies to mark up any cruise fares? Do you allow agencies to rebate to their clients? Can commissions be netted against checks in Cruise Line a weekly summary? Azamara Club Cruises Carnival Cruise Line 6 6 7 Celebrity Cruises 18 9 Crystal Cruises 15 MSC Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line 16 Oceania Cruises Paul Gauguin Cruises Regent Seven Seas Cruises 14 Royal Caribbean International 16 12 Seabourn Declined Silversea Cruises 13 14 to answer Viking Ocean Windstar Cruises 2 2 Not encouraged. 9 Must submit an agency check for the net date of booking. Net payment does amount prior to the final payment date not include commission and must be 6 All rates other than Approved Rates of booking. submitted by agency check. require the express written authorization of Carnival before being offered in 12 If a Travel Partner wishes to pay the 13 If the agency is packaging cruise any media. net amount due on the booking, they with land. must submit an agency check for the 7 Only for commission overages on a 14 However, they can offer a value add that net amount prior to the final payment respective booking with this condition. does not exceed 5% of the cruise.
chart 08 website & commissions The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents Ocean Do you add a surcharge on credit cards to cover merchant fees? Do you prominently display the agency’s name and phone in Cruise Line confirmations and documents? Azamara Club Cruises Carnival Cruise Line Celebrity Cruises Crystal Cruises MSC Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line 27 Oceania Cruises Paul Gauguin Cruises Regent Seven Seas Cruises Royal Caribbean International Seabourn Silversea Cruises Viking Ocean Windstar Cruises 15 A group summary can be requested and it shows commissions. 16 For groups. 18 We allow funded value add ons as a booking incentive.
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chart 08 website & commissions The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents Ocean Do you pay commissions on non-refunded cancellation Do you make your product and prices fully available in all GDSs, B2B web- Cruise Line monies paid? sites, call centers, and other portals? Azamara Club Cruises 10 Carnival Cruise Line 8 Celebrity Cruises 10 Crystal Cruises MSC Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line 29 Oceania Cruises 4 Paul Gauguin Cruises Regent Seven Seas Cruises Royal Caribbean International 10 Seabourn 10 Silversea Cruises Viking Ocean Windstar Cruises 10 5 4 Only on 100% penalized bookings. 5 Not currently, but is planned. 8 Qualified partners who complete relevant data, security and technology reviews. 10 Only within the full cancellation period.
Selling Ocean Cruises Part TWO: Advice for Agents by Marilee Crocker Agency group executives offer travel agents practical tips on how to successfully increase their ocean cruise sales. Develop close relationships with But that doesn’t mean some Knowledge is power selected cruise lines, stay current ocean cruise lines aren’t overly Matthew Eichhorst, president with product and promotions, aggressive about selling direct of Expedia CruiseShipCenters, and talk up the value of using an to consumers. Because intimate considers the global geopolitical agent. Those are among steps knowledge of their own promotions climate and the constantly evolving travel agents can take to succeed in allows in-house sales staff to be nature of the cruise industry as the selling ocean cruises in the face of particularly tactical in their approach, two biggest issues facing agents persistent obstacles like rebating, agents need to work hard to stay selling ocean cruises. In both cases, aggressive consumer-direct sales current with cruise line product and he said, “the remedy is for agents to and challenging global conditions, promotions. educate themselves.” according to executives of leading “If agents are aware of the global travel agency groups. Focus your efforts geopolitical issues, they will be in To be fair, the conditions for “An agent needs to educate a better position to provide their selling ocean cruises are arguably themselves almost daily,” said customers with vacation options. better for travel agents today than in Nicole Mazza, chief marketing officer For example, Europe is a popular recent memory. of TRAVELSAVERS, The Affluent vacation destination, but there is a For one thing, ocean cruise lines Traveler and NEST. vast difference between Turkey and more consistently support the travel Given the flood of often short- Norway from a tourism perspective agency channel, and they do a better term promotions, it’s nearly these days,” he said. job of minimizing cross-channel impossible to stay current on all “In another example, there were conflict, agency group executives cruise lines, so Mazza advises agents many islands in the Caribbean that told Travel Market Report. to focus on a small handful of cruise were spared from the hurricanes. “They used to forget to add the line partners and to build close Agents who were aware of this tagline ‘Or call your travel agent,’” relationships with them. “Choose would be able to offer their said Michelle Fee, founder and CEO one or two cruise lines and ensure customers alternative Caribbean of Cruise Planners. “The cruise lines you know their promotions every holiday plans. have come a long way over the last morning. Be a really good partner to “Likewise, if agents keep up-to- few years in better understanding them so you can build their volume speed with new ship innovations, that we all have to work together.” and work on special incentives.” cruise line offerings and promotions,
The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents they will be knowledgeable enough Remember to be active on social that goes a long way to ensuring to offer their customers a high-value media during your own travels, the agent’s continued relevance to vacation suited to their needs,” Daly advised agents. “Remind consumers and their cruise partners. Eichhorst said. customers socially when you’re “The travel agent’s job is to make Regarding geopolitical issues, traveling. Share that on Facebook, sure that the client who wants to particularly the threat of terrorism, Twitter and Instagram. That’s going take a deep water cruise is getting 31 Drew Daly, general manager to help people visualize themselves on the right product at the right of network engagement and consuming.” time and finding the best possible performance for CruiseOne, Dream price and amenities out there. That’s Vacations and Cruises Inc., noted Talk up the benefits of using where the agent serves a great need that agents are always faced with an agent for consumers, cutting through and customer concerns about safety and Agents also need to be vocal about finding what brand is right for a security. He urges agents to remind the value of using a travel agent. particular family. That’s where the customers that “a cruise vacation is “When the consumer goes direct, travel agent really does provide the safest vacation.” it’s largely because the agent hasn’t great value,” said John Lovell, CTC, made an extraordinary experience president of Travel Leaders Network Promote the value of cruising for them. They need to be professing & Leisure Group. For Daly, the most pressing that travel agents save you time, Cruise lines recognize this value challenge for agents selling ocean energy and money, and that a as well, said Fee of Cruise Planners. cruises is spreading the word about cruise vacation offers a great value “I think the cruise lines agree that if the value of a cruise vacation to alternative over a land vacation,” you put the customers on the right members of their communities who Daly said. product, they’re going to have a have never cruised. “It’s almost as if better experience, and they’ll have an agent today has to go back to the Make the right match more repeat cruisers. It’s about a basics of how agents 30 years ago At the end of the day, the agent who total experience, and I think we can built their businesses on cruising by does their job well delivers value to provide that better than going direct doing cruise nights,” Daly said. the client and to the cruise line, and or online.”
of lines surveyed do offer some co-op marketing. Most require a conversation chart 09 with a business development manager or an approved marketing plan to take advantage. co-op marketing Ocean Do you provide co-op How does an agency qualify? Cruise Line marketing? Prior sales with Azamara, as well as potential opportunities Azamara Club Cruises discussed with local Strategic Business Development Manager. Carnival Cruise Line Declined to answer. Based on conversation with Celebrity Sales Manager and a Celebrity Cruises marketing plan. By contacting their Strategic Business Development Manager and providing a market plan that shows viability for both partners to Crystal Cruises invest funds likely to result in a favorable return on investment for both parties. The agency builds and comes up with an agreed upon marketing plan MSC Cruises together with their BDM. A conversation with a Business Development Manager, illustrating Norwegian Cruise Line a business plan or a plan against a specific revenue goal, or proven revenue productivity. Review the opportunity with the local Regional Sales and Marketing Oceania Cruises Director or Business Development Manager for approval. The Directors of Sales have a co-op budget which enables them to Paul Gauguin Cruises develop marketing plans with individual agencies. Any agency qualifies for co-op marketing, and we analyze all plans submitted for effectiveness, however, the decision to participate is Regent Seven Seas managed by our Directors of Sales and Marketing or our Business Development Managers using variables such as the medium, target audience, reach and level of agency production. The territory strategic account manager and the agency owner Royal Caribbean Cruise Line review their marketing plan and co-op advertising opportunities and agreed-upon marketing initiatives. Agency to submit Marketing Plan to Business Development Manager Seabourn for review. Generally, one determinant for plan approval is revenue from previous year. Silversea Cruises We look at the sales potential of the agency. Contact their Director of Business Development who will assist in Viking Ocean Cruises creating a marketing plan. Agencies should submit marketing plans to their Regional Sales Windstar Cruises Manager for review.
chart 10 The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents referral program Does your website/ Ocean company have a travel agency referral program If yes, how do agents get onto the referral/preferred list? Cruise Line for preferred agencies? Azamara Club Cruises Based on sales. Carnival Cruise Line Declined to answer. Declined to answer. To qualify for this listing, an agency must have a minimum of $5,000 in sailed revenue for the Celebrity Cruises brand, Celebrity Cruises during the previous 12 months, and reservations must be booked under their own agency phone number, not a host phone number. We offer an Agent Locator on our website that allows Crystal Cruises 33 prospective guests to find an agent via a zip code search. MSC Cruises N/A If they are registered in Norwegian Central, they will be Norwegian Cruise Line included. Oceania Cruises N/A PEARLS Partners selling $25,000 or more in revenue per Paul Gauguin Cruises year are featured on the “Find an Agent” tool on our website. The request would need to be reviewed by the Director of Sales and Marketing. Agencies are considered on level Regent Seven Seas of production and commitment to selling Regent Seven Seas Cruises. To qualify for this listing, an agency must have a minimum of $5,000 in sailed revenue for the Royal Caribbean Royal Caribbean Cruise Line International brand during the previous 12 months, and reservations must be booked under their own agency phone number, not a host phone number. Seabourn Agencies qualified based on revenue. Silversea Cruises Based on revenue. Viking Ocean Cruises N/A Windstar Cruises N/A
chart 11 fam trip policy Ocean What is your fam trip policy for travel agents? Cruise Line Must have sold at least one booking in the past 12 months on any of the three brands: Azamara, Azamara Club Cruises Celebrity and Royal Caribbean International. Discounted travel agent rates are distributed to all individual travel agents who are signed-up Carnival Cruise Line to receive Carnival e-mails (agents may sign-up at GoCCL.com). Rates are subject to availability and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. We have Seminar at Sea availability throughout the year to help travel agents learn and Celebrity Cruises experience our product. Travel agents must work with their Celebrity Sales Manager to learn how to join us on one of these seminars. Crystal Cruises We post agent rate cruises on our agent site year-round. MSC offers seminars at sea multiple times throughout the year as well as ship tours when any of MSC Cruises our ships are docked in their homeport. All can be coordinated through the travel agent’s BDM. At BDM discretion or offered to travel partners through headquarters. We want every travel Norwegian Cruise Line partner to experience our product. We offer travel agent reduced rates and more information can be found in our Travel agent center at Oceania Cruises https://www.oceaniacruises.com/agent/agent-login/ We offer reduced rate travel to industry partners with verification of employment. Confirmation is Paul Gauguin Cruises typically given inside 30 days of sailing. All agent partners may submit requests for reduced rates with confirmation from 30-7 days prior Regent Seven Seas to sailing. Agent rate depends on agency production. We have land familiarization events that are planned through the local Strategic Account Manager. Typically an invitation is sent to the travel agency advising them of the fam opportunity. In addition, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line we provide a Seminar at Sea experience which creates and combines both classroom learning and the cruise experience. Travel agents can partner with their local Strategic Account Manager for an invitation throughout the year. FAMs are invitation based for agents registered for the Insider (TP Newsletter) who completed Seabourn the Seabourn Academy. Travel Agent Center of our Website offers list and form of Travel Agent Reduced fares. Fares vary Silversea Cruises by category and voyage. Fam trips are available based on availability and demand. Travel agents can contact their Viking Ocean Cruises Director of Business Development and/or Inside Sales for availability. Windstar regularly offers reduced rates for our travel agent partners. A downloadable PDF of Windstar Cruises the most current rates as well as the terms and conditions of this offer is available via our Agent hub: https://agenthub.windstarcruises.com
chart 12 training Training is the bedrock on which agents build their business. Knowing a product inside and out is the first step toward being able to recommend and then sell it. Here’s what the cruise lines have to offer in terms of training for travel agents: The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents types of training Tele- Ocean Seminars Regional Certification Video conference/ In Agency Training Program As Training Webinar Cruise Line Office Seminars Training Specialists Azamara Club Cruises Carnival Cruise Line 35 Celebrity Cruises Crystal Cruises MSC Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line Oceania Cruises Paul Gauguin Cruises Regent Seven Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Seabourn Silversea Cruises Viking Ocean Cruises Windstar Cruises
Cruise Lines Reveal New Products Debuting in 2018 by Jessica Montevago From new ships and itineraries to over-the-top entertainment and amenities, the cruise industry is offering something for every guests’ taste and budget. Azamara Club Cruises a platform cantilevered off the side four waterslides, ropes course, and The line’s newest ship, Azamara of the ship. The Celebrity Eclipse will ziplines. The 4,132-passenger ship Pursuit, will go into a wet dock in begin five sailings in Dublin; and the will feature 11 eateries, including an Belfast, Northern Ireland, this spring. Celebrity Constellation’s seven-night upscale seafood restaurant and a Following renovations, the ship will be Mediterranean itineraries are back. In steakhouse. fitted to accommodate 690 guests. The addition, Celebrity Solstice in Alaska official christening will take place on a has a longer season and more time Norwegian Cruise Line short sailing from Aug. 28-30, 2018. spent in port. The 4,004-passenger Norwegian Azamara also expanded its Cuban Bliss will begin sailing this itineraries, adding four new sailings Crystal Cruises summer in Alaska, becoming the and two additional maiden ports of call Set for redesign, the Crystal largest vessel ever to cruise to the in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. Serenity will go into dry dock from state, before moving to Miami in Oct. 14 to Nov. 10. The ship will November. Offerings range from Carnival Cruise Line get 36 additional Penthouses and a 1,000-foot-long go-kart race track The 3,954-passenger Carnival two additional Penthouse Suites, – the largest at sea – to a laser Horizon, sister ship to the Carnival plus new restaurants and other tag area on the top deck, to water Vista, will take its maiden voyage improvements. Crystal’s other ocean slides that go out into the ocean. on Apr. 2. The ship boasts a vessel, Symphony, completed its Several new dining concepts will Dr. Seuss-themed water park, renovation late last year. Onboard be introduced, including an upscale 800-foot-long sky ride around its both ships, Lido Café is getting version of authentic Texas barbeque, top deck, and IMAX Theater. New on replaced with a marketplace during an a la carte chocolate-themed Horizon will be a Guy Fieri-themed the day and a Brazilian-style dessert eatery, and Norwegian’s barbeque eatery and Japanese- restaurant at night. Crystal will also first full Starbucks. Like sister-ships style Teppanyaki restaurant. It will provide unlimited complimentary Joy and Escape, Bliss will have sail four- and eight-day itineraries WiFi to all of its passengers. Tony Award-winning production out of New York to Bermuda or the shows including Jersey Boys and a Caribbean, until it moves to its final MSC Cruises restaurant-line boardwalk. scheduled homeport of Miami at the Sister-ship to the brand new end of September. MSC Seaside, MSC Seaview will Oceania Cruises sail seven-night itineraries in the Oceania Cruises will offer a complete Celebrity Cruises Western Mediterranean. Extra-wide circumnavigation of Australia on the In November, the Celebrity Edge promenades will provide ample 684-passenger Regatta on Dec. 13, will sail seven-night itineraries in outdoor space, in the form of eating 2018. The 34-day voyage will begin the Caribbean. The ship boasts the and lounge areas. Designed for in Sydney with port stops including new Edge Stateroom with an infinite warm-weather destinations, the top Brisbane, Alotau, Komodo, Perth, veranda and first-ever Magic Carpet, deck will offer an Aqua Park with Penneshaw (Kangaroo Island),
Adelaide, and Melbourne, as well as restaurant; and new Broadway- Silversea Cruises visits to Indonesia and Papua New caliber entertainment, including Culinary- and wine-themed Enriched Guinea. It will be Oceania’s third Hairspray and an original production. Voyages kick off this year, offering circumnavigation cruise of Australia. For families, the two-level Ultimate passengers guided market-to-plate Family Suite has everything from a excursions, cooking demonstrations, Paul Gauguin Cruises slide to a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall special tastings, and private tours The 332-guest m/s Paul Gauguin will to a theater-style TV room, complete to vineyards and wineries. Over a be the first cruise line to visit the port with a popcorn machine and a library dozen itineraries feature the culinary city of Vairao in Tahiti Iti, the smaller, of video games. enrichment program, including on eastern peninsula of the archipelago. Royal Caribbean will also roll the Silver Muse, Silver Wind, and The Ocean Cruise Report Card for Travel Agents Tahiti Iti is scheduled on the seven- out new itineraries. Cruises sailing Silver Cloud. Four sailings offer night Society Islands & Tahiti Iti wine voyages. voyages and a special 10-night Silversea Cruises also introduced Society Islands & Tuamotus. ...the cruise industry the inaugural 2018 Couture Collection, Paul Gauguin Cruises will also a portfolio of nine pre- and post-cruise is offering begin offering wedding ceremony land programs of five- to 11-day and vow renewal packages at Motu something for every journeys, as an extension to select Mahana, the cruise line’s private Silversea cruises. It includes activities guests’ taste and budget. islet off the coast of Taha’a, or in the ranging from private helicopter glass-bottom overwater chapel at the service in Mongolia to vintage rail in InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & to Cuba will include overnights India, and Gulfstream jets in and out Thalasso Spa. and new ports in Cienfuegos and of Antarctica. Each program is fully Santiago de Cuba, with Majesty of escorted and includes most meals and Regent Seven Seas Cruises the Seas and Empress of the Seas. luxury accommodations. The Seven Seas Wellness It will return to New Orleans for the program will be expanded from first time since 2014, with Vision of Viking the Mediterranean to other global the Seas’ seven-night cruises from In July of this year, Viking’s fifth ocean regions, though those are yet Galveston, Texas. ship, Viking Orion, will debut. She 37 to be determined. It launched will spend her maiden year sailing aboard the Seven Seas Voyager Seabourn itineraries in the Mediterranean, before with 11 excursions, ranging from The 600-guest Seabourn Ovation making her way to Asia, Australia, Vinyasa yoga on Monte Carlo to will make her debut, sailing in and then Alaska. Additionally, Viking hydrothermal therapy in the Thermal the Mediterranean and Northern recently announced the name of Baths of Popes. Europe in the summer and fall its sixth ocean ship, Viking Jupiter, The all-suite, all-balcony Seven before moving to Asia for the winter. which will sail new itineraries in South Seas Mariner will go into dry dock Like sister-ship Seabourn Encore, America in 2019. in April for a bow-to-stern ship-wide Ovation’s contemporary interiors refurbishment. When it reemerges were created by regarded designer Windstar Cruises in May, it will debut completely Adam D. Tihany, who drew from the Six new Signature Expeditions will refreshed suites and a new modern feeling of a private yacht. Each of the give intrepid passengers an up-close French specialty restaurant, as well 300 cabins will be suites with private experience of Alaska, including a as reupholstered soft furnishings of balconies. Ovation boasts a Wellness hiking tour through Wrangell, Zodiac all public spaces. Spa with Dr. Andrew Weil, restaurant tour of the Inian Islands or Kenai helmed by Chef Thomas Keller, and Fjords National Park, and kayaking Royal Caribbean Cruise Line casino. On the ship’s top deck, there expedition through Misty Fjords. The world’s largest ship, Symphony is an Observation Bar and a cabana Starting in May, six expert guides of the Seas, will make its debut area with a hot tub, spa cabana, and will be onboard each of Windstar’s in April. Onboard, passengers lounge chairs. Restaurant options cruises in Alaska for the entirety of will find the Ultimate Abyss, the will range from Seabourn Square, a the voyage, where in addition to tallest slide at sea; Hooked, Royal cafe area; a sushi restaurant; and the leading the excursions, they will Caribbean’s first dedicated seafood Colonnade for casual dining. provide commentary and insight.
chart 13 how to sell more cruises Ocean What can travel agents do to more effectively sell your product? Cruise Line Engage with local sales manager; participate in monthly webinar series; complete the Azamara World Azamara Club Cruises Academy; follow @AzamaraClubCruises and @LarryPimentel on social media; review travel agent rates on CruisingPower.com; take advantage of our turn key trade tool kit hosted on CruisingPower.com. Participate in Carnival Passport learning program, available on GoCCL.com; Join a Carnival Conversations event (Schedule available at GoCCL.com), Attend a ship inspection or join Carnival’s Carnival Cruise Line e-mail list to receive the latest calendar; Subscribe to Carnival’s e-mail list to read Carnival’s Onboard with You agent newsletter. Work with their Celebrity Sales Manager and register for Five Star training. Learn about our brand Celebrity Cruises to build their business; leverage all the tools and resources that Celebrity Cruises provides such as Cruisingpower.com. By being a focused partner with regard to ongoing staff training, product promotion, and marketing in Crystal Cruises as many media as the agency has the ability to do so effectively. The number one thing travel agents can do is work with their BDM to become educated on all things MSC Cruises MSC Cruises. The BDM will help them put together a sales and marketing plan. Most important: That we build our promotions around value, not price. They are intended to give travel partners something to base their conversations on other than the ‘cheapest cruise’. Our Free at Sea promotion gives agents what they need to increase commission earnings by opening the door to a Norwegian Cruise Line value conversation versus price. Other important things to remember: Enroll in NCL U and learn every- thing about the product and the brand – and possibly earn a free cruise. Reach out to your BDM and build a business plan. Sail with us, or if not possible, visit one of our ships in a home-port near you. Become a specialist by completing our Oceania Sales Specialist Academy that can be found at our Oceania Cruises Travel Agent Center: https://www.oceaniacruises.com/agent/agent-login/. Travel Agents should also connect with our sales team to create a customized marketing plan. Participating in our PEARL’s program will give an agent the knowledge, marketing support and ongoing Paul Gauguin Cruises training to better sell Paul Gauguin Cruises. Highlight our inclusiveness and compare it with the costs of our included items on other premium and luxury lines. Our value proposition resonates with our guests who appreciate the ease of booking and having most everything included in one price. Familiarize themselves with our Travel Agent Center, Regent Seven Seas which provides many sales and marketing resources including training courses, product videos, sales tips, agent spotlights and the ability to order current brochures. Our Travel Agent Center also offers Marketing Central, a platform providing the ability to customize flyers, email, and other advertising templates as well as social media posts they can share. At Royal Caribbean we have many resources and tools to assist any travel agent to learn about our brand and to build their business such as partnering with their Strategic Account Manager and Business Development Specialist; leveraging all the tools and resources that Royal Caribbean Royal Caribbean Cruise Line provides such as Cruisingpower.com, www.LoyaltoYouAlways.com (Travel Partner website), new education site within cruisingpower.com called – Royal CaribbeanUniversity, utilizing Espresso (Royal Caribbean’s booking tool), participating in regular webinar events and more. Seabourn Market to luxury-travel based guests and be knowledgeable about promotions. Participate in our training programs and webinars by reaching out to their local Area Sales Director. Silversea Cruises Also become certified by taking our Travel Agent University course online. They can contact their Director of Business Development for marketing support and product training Viking Ocean Cruises support. Viking also recommends travel partners register and complete all available courses on the Viking Travel Agent Academy. Learn more about us! Take our Star Specialist program, available on our Agent Hub https://agenthub.windstarcruises.com. Join us onboard for a FAM. Reach out to your Regional Sales Windstar Cruises Manager for individual or office training. Agents should learn about what sets us apart so that they can properly match their clients to our brand.
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