Costa Cruises has made a U-turn on its sales strategy in the UK and will continue to sell through UK agents.
On Friday Carnival Corporation chief, Arnold Donald, disputed reports that Costa Cruises is moving to cut out the trade.
Last week Costa had said it was moving to a “direct sales model”, but in a statement today, Costa confirmed bookings would continue to be made by UK agents.
It said: “Costa confirms that travel partners in the UK will continue to be able to sell Costa Cruises through the 'Costa Click' internet booking engine at an appropriate commission. Servicing of the UK trade will take place thru the Genova call centre.”
During a conference call on Carnival’s earnings, Donald said the message had “got lost in translation”, according to Seatrade Insider. “Costa is not going direct in the UK,” he said, adding that the company values agents.
He said agents could continue to make bookings for clients moving forward.
His comments sparked confusion as they come just days after Costa revealed a change in strategy which would see all passengers bookings made directly through a call centre or online. The line said the transition was intended to reflect the state of the UK market.
In a statement last week, Costa said: “We believe that a direct sales model, for the type of market the UK represents for us and for the digital behaviour of the UK customer, is the best way to serve the needs of the market moving forward.”
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