Finding A Cruise Travel Agent
So, you’ve decided to go on a cruise — perhaps your first venture on a vacation at sea — and you’re a little overwhelmed. You have to consider how much you’re willing to pay, whether to book an inexpensive inside cabin or splurge on a suite, and which cruise line and ship are right for you. Add dinner seatings, shore excursions and cabin location to the list, and planning a relaxing getaway suddenly seems like a second job.
With everyone attached to their phones, laptops and tablets, many people assume that online is the only way to book travel. But, as booking online can often be confusing, a travel agent might be just what you need.
One of the most important things to know is that agents — in particular, cruise specialists — have been onboard the ships and can really give you firsthand advice about different cruise options. They have done a great deal of research through familiarization trips and cruise line seminars, so you don’t have to do the work yourself. Even better, agents often have access to special discounts or perks — or know best where to find them — and as the cruise lines pay their commissions, you don’t pay more for their services and expertise.
Still undecided, or unsure where to find an agent to help you? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Carnival Cruise Line Gives Travel Agencies Opportunity To Choose What They Earn With Amp Up Commission Challenge
Qualifying Agencies Will EarnIncreased Commission for Month of September with Targeted Booking Goals
MIAMI Carnival Cruise Line is giving travel agencies theopportunity to earn higher commission percentages on bookings made from Sept.1-30, 2017, with its new “AMP Up Commission Challenge.” The promotion offersagencies the ability to increase their commission rate up to 15% for bookingsmade during September by meeting targeted booking goals set by Carnival. The”AMP Up Commission Challenge” is part of the line’s popular “Travel AgentsRock” program. Registration for the promotion is open from Aug. 1-18,2017 on GoCCL.com.
“We appreciate how hard travel agents work to meet booking goals and with thispromotion they’ll enjoy the added incentive of reaching a heightened commissionlevel with just a bit of added help from us,” said Carnival’s Vice President ofSales & Trade Marketing Adolfo Perez. “This is the perfect opportunity foragents to give themselves a greater challenge as we approach the end of theyear all while earning more than they normally would for reaching the goals setwith the promotion.”
Following are the booking goals agents must reach in order to meet variouscommission thresholds as part of the promotion:
15%Commission: 21 Bookings
11%Commission: 4 Bookings
Agents canfollow the line’s many recent travel agent initiatives on Carnival’s tradeFacebook page, , using thehashtag #thelist, #weareyourbiggestfans and #travelagentsrock.
About Carnival Cruise Line
How To Find A Travel Agent For A Cruise
Cruise lines prefer that you use a travel agent rather than going online and booking directly. They have small in-house reservation teams, and when you have a question while making a booking, good luck in getting an expert on the phone in a timely manner particularly in a pandemic when the cruise line staff is busy fielding calls about cancellations and such.
You may also find experienced and certified cruise travel agents through CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association, which is the industrys main marketing group. Asking friends who have cruised to recommend a travel agent is another good idea.
You may get more personalized care from smaller agencies than from the huge online agencies, though websites such as icruise.com, Cruise.com and Cruise411.com also have experienced cruise agents. These larger online travel agencies can be a good option for those who prefer to make decisions and ask questions via chat. Just make sure you get the name and phone number of the representative for any follow-up questions.
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Do Travel Agents Get Better Cruise Pricing
In a sense, yes travel agents can get better cruise pricing for clients. Because most agents look for the best deal for their client, this tends to apply not just before a booking occurs but after all, meaning, a travel agent will continue to look for a better deal even after the cruise has been booked. This can include special offers like kids sail free or a room credit for the guests.
Also, many cruise lines give cruise agents the opportunity to help their clients save by offering them on-board credits to share. These credits can be used by the clients once on-board and tend to cover any incidental charges including drink or merchandise purchases. They may even go towards excursion bookings. Either way the client saves money.
For personal bookings done by the cruise agent, they can save up to almost 70% off a cruise. This is typically earned when an agent completes some training and has an industry ID card. Some cruise lines even offer free cruises to agents who reach a certain level of training.
Carnival Unveils Game Awarding Travel Agents With Free Cruises
Carnival Cruise Line unveiled Carnival Playbook, a weeklong promotional game for travel advisors, enabling 500 agents to win seven-day Carnival cruises.
The game, which is part of Carnivals Onboard with You pledge to support its travel advisor partners, began today, Nov. 7, and runs consecutively through Nov. 14.
Prizes are being awarded randomly and instantly.
Each day, participating agents will be tasked with creating a cruise for a particular client persona and matching onboard venues for that persona to a particular Carnival ship.
A travel advisor is really the best person to match a guest to the right line, ship, itinerary and stateroom, said Adolfo Perez, Carnivals senior vice president of global sales and trade marketing. With this playbook program what were doing is helping them hone their skills on how to do just that.
As an example, Perez noted that the client persona for Nov. 7 is multigenerational families and the ship . Travel advisors describe this family in terms of who they are and what they like to do, he said.
We have a list they populate with five to seven activities and venues that are available on that ship and there is no right or wrong answer.
Winning agents who can only win once will be provided with a portfolio of ships and itineraries to choose from.
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Questions To Ask A Cruise Travel Agent
In choosing a cruise travel agent, you will want to tap into the person’s specific expertise about the cruise line and ship on which you are considering sailing. Anyone can read a ship deck plan outlining ship spaces , but you are looking for people who really know their stuff.
Look for travel agencies that are cruise-only or a home-based agent who specializes in cruises. If you are using a full-service travel agency, ask for the cruise desk.
Here are some questions to ask a travel agent to determine their expertise:
- How often do you cruise?
- Have you cruised on the line I am considering?
- Have you cruised on the ship that I am considering, or do you have clients who have cruised that ship and provided a review of their vacation?
- Do you have firsthand knowledge about the cruise destination? The itinerary?
You will also want to ask the travel agent if they have a preferred relationship or negotiated agreement with any specific lines that could lead to special perks for you.
Be aware that not all agents work with all cruise lines some may represent a few preferred suppliers or specialize in higher-end cruises. They get bigger commissions from their preferred lines.
You should also ask if the travel agency offers 24/7 assistance in case you have last-minute questions or something goes wrong before or during your trip.
How Much Do Cruise Agents Make
Cruise agents typically make 10% or more of the pre-tax price on a cruise. So if a cruise costs $5,000 before taxes, the agent will usually earn $500 on the cruise booking. However, many agents tend to work with host agencies who pay a percentage of that commission and in return host the agent by providing access to the supplier plus on-going support and training. In this case an agent tend to make between 50%-70% of the earned commission.
On a monthly basis, cruise agents usually make somewhere between $2,500 to $5,500. It all depends on how many bookings you complete each month. The average cruise booking pays about $400.
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Why You Should Book Through A Cruise Travel Agent
You should consider booking a cruise through a travel agent because a knowledgeable agent can help you understand the nuances of a cruise purchase and help you make the best decisions for your vacation preferences.
When you book a cruise, you are making a vacation decision that goes way beyond a flight or hotel nights. Which ship you choose determines your dining and evening entertainment choices for the duration of your vacation. Which itinerary you choose impacts which destinations youll visit and what kind of shoreside activities will be available to you. It can be overwhelming to evaluate the options on your own if youve never cruised before.
In addition, cruise fares can be hard to understand and compare. You may, for instance, see a fare listed online without the port charges, taxes and fees, which you only see after you give your personal details.
Plus, the price of your cruise includes accommodations, meals, entertainment and activities and in some cases drinks, tips and shore excursions, Wi-Fi and other extras. Theres a lot bundled into some fares and not as much with others. A travel agent can help you determine what your cruise fare gets you. The cheapest base cruise fare does not always provide the best value or best overall vacation deal.
What Is A Cruise Agent
A cruise agent is someone who helps a vacationeer through the booking process of a cruise. This includes choosing the destination, the ship, the dates, any cruise activities, room type and location as well as transportation to and from the cruise terminal.
While it seems like a lot of steps to take, booking a cruise for a client is a fairly simple process and usually takes about 15-20 minutes online to complete. In most cases the client will already know where they want to go, for how long and some of the activities that they want. Typically the cruise agent is in charge of booking the cruise and room and from there can let the client choose and book their own extras, add-ons, and the schedule of each day.
This is commonly done through an online booking engine that looks very similar to a consumer-facing one.
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Carnival Cruise Line Opens New Merchandise Store For Travel Agents
Carnival Cruise Line opens a new merchandise store where travel agents can redeem their Royalty Rocks! reward points.
In appreciation of the travel advisor community, Carnival Cruise Line just released a new Loyalty Rocks! rewards program. Dedicated travel agents can now look forward to the latest Carnival merchandise offerings and redeem their earned points.
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How To Become A Cruise Line Travel Agent 3 Simple Steps
Becoming a travel agent these days isnt like what it use to be. Theres no going to the office, brick and mortar requirement. Most agents work from home and book for clients online or over the phone. This helps bring down the cost of overhead and allows many people to work as an agent in any capacity and on their own time. All of this applies to someone who is looking to become a cruise line travel agent as well.
So what is a cruise line travel agent? This term refers to anyone who specifically books cruises for clients. Its their main focus. And its a fantastic idea and cruises tend to earn travel agents the most commission overall on a booking.
So if youre wanting to get into the travel industry and more specifically book cruises for your clients, youre on the right path. We have 3 simple steps to follow to become an actual agent who sells cruises today and earns commission doing so. But first lets answer some commonly asked questions.
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Loyalty Rocks Carnival Merchandise Store
Carnival Cruise Line just launched its first ever Loyalty Rocks! Carnival Merchandise Store for travel advisors. In continuation of expanding its rewards programs, travel advisors can now redeem their Loyalty Rocks! reward points for a variety of Carnival-branded merchandise.
Travel advisors also have the option to utilize their accrued points towards a donation to St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, Carnivals longtime charitable partner. Carnival Cruise Line has raised more than $18 million to help St. Jude fight childhood cancer and has been named the Official Celebration Partner for St. Jude.
In partnership with St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, the cruise line has set its most ambitious goal thus far. Carnival intends to raise another $15 million over the next five years, totaling $33 million.
The release of the specialty merchandise items is designed to make an impressionable impact on travel advisors and reward them for their dedication and support for the cruise line.
Our Loyalty Rocks! program rewards our amazing travel advisors for the important work they do in support of their clients day in and day out, and were always looking for new and fun ways to make the rewards program an impactful tool that supports and grows their business,said Adolfo Perez, senior vice president of global sales and trade marketing.
Since we introduced Loyalty Rocks! in June 2018, the feedback weve gotten from advisors has been over the top,said Adolfo Perez.
What Benefits Do They Offer
While not guaranteed on every cruise, travel agents can offer benefits such as extra onboard credit or perks like a complimentary dinner.
One of the biggest advantages of booking with a travel agent is that they handle changes, cancellations, re-bookings and remind you of payments, which has been invaluable to customers during the pandemic.
With current long customer service wait times it is much easier to let a professional handle these kinds of issues.
Most cruise lines allow customers to re-price if their cruise fare decreases or goes on sale, and a travel agent can assist with the process, saving you both time and money.
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Cruising Experience And Knowledge
Question the agents on cruising trends or up-and-coming destinations, and ask them to explain the differences between cruise lines. Find out how many cruises they’ve taken that year and with which lines they’ve personally cruised. The more knowledgeable an agent is, the better advice you’ll get. If the agent has rarely cruised, you might want to take your business elsewhere. In addition, you might want to look for an agent who is a cruise specialist — either at a cruise-dedicated agency or within a larger general agency — to get the best service.