Carnival UK chairman David Dingle has urged agents to not think about cruise lines offering better commission or overrides when making bookings, but instead what’s best for a customer.
His comments came as he admitted that the commission cuts carried out in 2011 were “brutal” and that more could have been done to minimise the impact on the trade.
Speaking at the Clia Cruise Forum in Tilbury, keynote speaker David Dingle said the “houses of brands” provided through Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings offered a wealth of opportunity for agents to find the right cruise for each individual customer.
He said: “Fitting the customer to the brand is crucial and not to the brand where at the time you have a 5% override or a better base commission. That’s all great in the short term, but if you fit the customer correct to the brand you will have a customer for life.
“You have won the customer's trust if they’re a new cruiser. Get it wrong and they won’t book a cruise again or with you again.”
Speaking about the commission cuts, Dingle said: “It was done quite brutally, someone had to do it as everyone was getting completely out of control. Some agents were going to the wall as a result.
“When we went about setting the commission at 5% we didn’t know if that would be the right commission or not. We knew as soon as we did that we would have to take some remedial action.”
Dingle also hit back at Virgin Cruise boss Tom McAlpin, who in an interview with Travel Weekly in July described the current cruise sector as being “vanilla” and all blending into one.
Dingle said: “Carnival certainly isn’t a vanilla company which provides the same thing to everybody.
"It offers distinctly different experiences to distinctly different customers all over the world and that is fundamentally why Carnival is as successful as it is and I’m sure the other global corporations would say that same.”
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