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Vacation.com Says Regent Decision Shows Value of AgentsJanuary 15, 2009 By: George Dooley
Vacation.com applauded Regent Seven Seas’ recent announcement that the cruise line will dramatically alter their compensation structure to essentially eliminate non-commissionable fees (NCFs) and that the move reinforces the value of the distribution channel.
“By eliminating the barriers non-commissionables create, Regent has engaged their distribution channel to take the lead in selling their entire product line,” said Steve Tracas, Vacation.com’s president & CEO. “With the distribution channel and supplier rightfully aligned, we can collectively forge through these difficult economic times together. We hope others follow their lead.”
Announced at Regent's first top-producers meeting, the luxury cruise line revealed that they will pay commission on port charges, government fees, taxes and shore excursions, combining these charges into the cruise price on all 2010 departures. In addition, 39 sailings in 2009 will also incorporate shore excursions into the overall cruise pricing, Vacation.com noted.
Even though some NCFs will remain—including air booked through the cruise line and onboard spa—the move to reduce all others is a stark departure from the standard compensation policies in effect across the cruise industry. Tracas, an industry veteran, has repeatedly spoken out against the rise of NCFs, which he has called an “undercurrent of dissatisfaction” among agents who are growing frustrated with declining compensation.
“It is counterproductive when a potential cruise customer contacts an agent for a sale, and that agent then explores other vacation possibilities to generate revenue,” said Tracas. “Not only are the cruise lines battling the economy—they are battling their own distribution channel. That’s why we originally recognized RCCL when they launched their ASAP program and now applaud Regent for taking the challenge head-on.”