Hurtigruten has announced a restructuring of commission payments which they say could result in agents earning up to 20% commission, amid a raft of changes designed to re-engage the trade in selling the adventure cruise line.
While the standard commission rate will drop from 15% to 13%, UK head of sales Anthony Daniels stressed this was ‘absolutely not a cut’, with new quarterly bonus payments of up to 4% and an annual bonus of 3%. Payments will be made at the time of booking rather than departure, meaning agents who meet specified targets could find themselves better off, he added.
Speaking during an international fam trip hosting nearly 40 UK agents onboard the refurbished Kong Harald, he said: “The earning potential is now up to 20% because [agents] have got more departure years they can sell into, and the more they support us and the more business they drive, the more they are going to earn with us.
“It’s absolutely not about a cut; it’s the chance to earn more. The more you do with us, the more you will earn. We will pay per quarter so the actual cash flow is enhanced; now you can get four payments a year, and they will be based on booked revenue regardless of departure date, so the portfolio to sell has tripled.”
Hurtigruten recently withdrew from Clia UK & Ireland in a bid to reposition itself as an adventure specialist rather than a mainstream cruise line, offering many more adventurous excursions on its core Norway coastal product as well as a host of Explorer itineraries to destinations such as the Arctic, Antarctica, Greenland and – new for 2017 – the Amazon, west coast of South America, and eastern Canada.
UK managing director, Magnus Zetterberg, said: “I think it was good to be in Clia but then once our identity became clearer, we felt it was in our best interests to make ourselves more appealing to other distribution channels. Clia does an amazing job but, for us, we just needed to move in a new direction.
“Our sales are 50% direct and 50% through agents. Many people would compliment us on that, but I see it as a sign that we haven’t done a very good job within the agent community, so we really want to grow the share of agent sales. I think a 70/30 ratio is probably a good split.”
A new agency sales representative has been appointed bringing the UK team back up to three, and there are plans for more fam trips including one to showcase the company’s land-based tours in Spitsbergen, and one possible agent trip to Antarctica.
The number of charter flights to Bergen – the main departure point for Hurtigruten’s Norway sailings – has increased by 50% for winter 2016/17, with more flights from airports including Birmingham, Manchester, Gatwick and Dublin.
Hurtigruten has also redeveloped its agent training programme with a greater focus on its Explorer product in a new OTT course being released later this month.
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