Carnival UK boss David Dingle has played down the prospect that agent commissions will be reviewed by incoming chief commercial officer Gerard Tempest.
The operator announced last week that Tempest is to join the cruise operator in the newly created role to oversee all commercial and marketing activity for P&O Cruises and Cunard.
Asked if this signalled a potential rethink on last year’s reduction of commission to 5%, Dingle said the change had been effective and was unlikely to be a key priority for Tempest.
“We have made a recent and very significant move in terms of travel agent remuneration. It’s an area where I think we have made a good decision, I think it’s been effective.
“It’s not necessarily an area where we would want to make changes to what we have recently done.”
Dingle added: “this is a fast-moving world and a fast-moving market and we always need to be agile in all aspects of our sales and marketing.
“From time to time as we review all our activities our distribution and trade relationships will go under the spotlight.
“But I’m not necessarily anticipating that this would be one of the first areas someone coming into the business would choose to look at.”
Tempest will join Carnival UK in December from Whitbread taking a very senior role above established brand bosses Carol Marlow of P&O Cruises, Peter Shanks of Carnival and Nigel Esdale, Carnival UK commercial director.
Dingle said: “We wanted to add firepower to what is a good commercial and brand team.
“We continue to be a growing business. These are tough and challenging times and therefore we need to be at our very best from a marketing and commercial perspective.
“It’s always good from time to time to bring fresh blood in and new skills particularly in some areas where we have not necessarily got a great deal of experience.
“We need to strengthen, for instance, our digital activities. We have people here already but I think we can add more external skills and leadership to that.
“Also, I think we need to have more coordination of our brand marketing teams. I need someone to join it up more.”
Tempest will join as P&O Cruises prepares to start selling cabins on the largest ship ever built for the British line. In 2014 a new 4,000 capacity superliner will join the fleet – representing a 22% increase in capacity.
“We are looking forward to operating more capacity in a few years time. It’s a challenging economic environment and we need to become more and more effective.
“Our target was to look for a very talented marketing professional who has a very good range of skills from revenue management to brand marketing and everything in between.
“This is the perfect time for Gerard to come in to support the work that Carol in particular will be doing to build up demand for that new ship.
“This is the next natural step from the Ventura and Azura, it’s about 500 more beds than those ships and we have a very good track record of absorbing significant increases in capacity. Azura grew capacity by 25%.”
Dingle added: “I’m comfortable with how well we are pulling through this period at the moment.
“It once again underlines the strength of our brands as a whole and it certainly reminds us how strong and enduring the P&O brand is.
“In a way it’s a good job P&O is such a strong brand because unlike Princess and Cunard it does not rely on sourcing from other parts of the world.”
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