Carnival Cruise Line has announced it has reduced the number of sailed cabins required for each commission tier, with an average reduction of 32 percent for the 11-15 percent commission tiers.
The new commission structure, which is applicable to new bookings made starting January 1, 2016, was made based on input from travel agents.
"Over the past two years we've been hosting the Carnival Conversations events to get feedback from travel agents, and we've made changes based on that feedback," Adolfo Perez, Carnival's new vice president of trade sales, tells Travel Agent. "Since I started at Carnival, I've been hearing about this so much that this has been my top priority."
Carnival has also shared with Travel Agent a full breakdown on how each tier will be affected by the new policy:
For agents, the new commission tiers for 2016 will be set based on the number of sailed cabins by the end of 2015, Perez says.
"That's an opportunity to push for the rest of the year," says Perez. "Our business development managers are going to identify agents that are close to some of these lead tiers, and help them get to these higher tiers."
Perez also advises that agents reach out to their business development manager to make sure they can get to that highest commission tier for 2016.
Once the new year is underway, agents still have the opportunity to reach higher commission tiers if they meet that tier's sailed cabin requirement, says Perez. Agents who meet the requirement for a new tier in 2016 will automatically have their commission updated starting from that point forward.
"It’s great that Carnival is listening to and working with travel agents to incentivize agents to earn higher commissions faster through its new commission tier program," Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, tells Travel Agent. "The brand has made efforts to recognize the value travel agents bring to the company’s bottom line, which is a step in the right direction in terms of the competitive landscape. It is obvious the company has re-prioritized travel agent relationships and this trend should continue to keep the brand top of mind for travel agents."
Carnival’s commission program will continue to follow the line’s sailed cabin approach, whereby travel agents are incentivized based on how many cabins they sell that subsequently sail.
Perez and the extended Carnival sales team will be launching a support program through the end of the year to share specifics on the new program with travel agents, including webinars, office visits and updates during the line's Carnival Conversations events. The program will kick off with a podcast hosted by Perez and Mike Julius, Carnival’s senior managing director of U.S. trade sales, which will debut featured on GoCCL.com.