A string of top cruise agents say they have had their commission reduced or have been cut off commercially by Viking Cruises.
Travel Weekly understands at least three agencies – online and high street – have had commission levels reduced, while one cruise retailer said it had lost its commercial deal with Viking altogether.
Agency consortia have also been in talks with Viking.
Viking refused to confirm it had reduced commissions or cancelled contracts, but said in a statement: “Like any business, we review all of our partnerships on a regular basis.”
The line would not put forward anyone for an interview but in a statement, UK head of sales Neil Barclay insisted Viking was “committed to working with travel agents” and that the trade was “integral” to its business.
The agents who spoke to Travel Weekly asked to remain anonymous as they hoped to improve agreements in the future.
One said: “Viking has not renewed our commercials at all for 2020. The deal has been pulled and I hear we are not the only ones, but that they are reducing the number of agents they work with.
“There was no consultation about it. They didn’t bother speaking to us. We removed Viking from our website immediately.”
Another agent said: “Viking have been very heavy handed.”
One leading agency’s sales chief said the decision to cut commission was “short-sighted” because “there are other options to Viking”.
They added: “Viking have indicated they want to stop working with [agencies] that discount and devalue their product.”
But Barrhead Travel said the line was a ‘platinum partner’ and river cruise was selling “exceptionally well”.
Barclay’s statement added: “A significant proportion of our bookings are made via agents and we do not envisage this changing any time soon.”
Viking is the only major river line not a member of trade body Clia.
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