Small independent cruise agents are calling for Complete Cruise Solution to offer them exclusive deals to help them compete with larger rivals and retain regular customers.
Agents have spoken out against Complete Cruise Solution and its lack of support for independent agents last week.
CruisingCoast2Coast director Tony Robinson said he had been losing regular customers who had been tempted away by the larger cruise agencies selling at vastly discounted rates.
He called for CCS to support independents by price matching or only selling special deals to new customers, not those with an existing booking.
Travel Planet manager Liz Pattison called for action. “It’s about time the smaller agents asked CCS for exclusive deals that can only be booked through the smaller agents – at least then we’d get a slice of the pie,” she said. “I have lost count of the amount of cruise bookings that I have lost as a result of bigger agencies undercutting.”
Maidstone-based Holiday Answers general manager Joanne Crawford said it was “impossible” for small agents to compete when their larger competitors could offer the same holiday for half the price.
Responding to the complaints, Carnival UK sales and customer services director Giles Hawke said agents had to focus on driving volume to benefit from special deals.
“We do reward our bigger agents with higher commissions,” he said. “Some agents choose to rebate some of their commission to customers to secure the bookings.
“The business environment is tough and it is understandable that agents are fighting harder for every booking. Given the substantial availability of cruise holidays in the market, there is room for any agency who has something unique to offer in terms of customer databases, routes to market, service and desire to grow their volume.”
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