Advantage paid out £42 million to its agents in cruise commissions last year after enjoying a 44% hike is cruise sales.

Commission payments were up by £13 million during 2010 on sales of £300 million across the consortium’s members, based on average commission rates of 14%.

So far this year, the consortium has already paid out £30 million in commission payments to members on sales of cruise holidays and retained commission levels.

On luxury sales, the consortium paid out £8 million in agent commissions on turnover of £63 million last year, £1 million more than 2009. So far this year, £3.3 million has been paid out in commissions.

Head of commercial John Sullivan said: “Some sectors performed very well in 2010. We also maintained average commissions, which is no mean feat.”

The consortium has also struck longer term commercial deals with suppliers, he said, with 64% of operators now in deals lasting two to three years, a 60% increase. Traditionally, commercial deals were in place for just a year, he added.

Sullivan urged members to support preferred suppliers and warned further operators could cut commission, following the decision by Complete Cruise Solution to slash rates to 5%.

He said: “We must retain best in class commercial terms. It’s not about being partners in good times or bad times; it’s all times. Never before has it been so important for members to support partners who have supported us, otherwise we will see more of the CCS moves.”