Travel agency consortium TTA Worldchoice has announced it will direct members to sell less Complete Cruise Solution brands after the move to cut commission to a base rate of 5%.
In a strongly worded statement the travel agency group said it would look to strengthen relationships with cruise operators that are more supportive of its members. “This will lead inevitably to a reduction of business going through CCS”, it said.
Complete Cruise Solution sales director Giles Hawke said he had not spoken to TTA Worldchoice since the change in commission structure but he added: “They will do whatever is right for their business and their members will do the same. We hope to work with any agent who wishes to sell our brands and feels it works for their business model.”
Gary Lewis, TTA Worldchoice operations director, said. “We have now discussed this issue in great depth, and its impact on us as a group and our members and are deeply dissatisfied with CCS’s move to reduce commission.
“Our strategy as TTA Worldchoice is, and always has been, to work with operators who help our members satisfy the need of their customers, and who at the same time support the trade and our members commercially.
“There are a number of great quality cruise lines providing fantastic product to us as a group and therefore, with immediate effect we will be looking to strengthen our relationships with those cruise operators who are more supportive of our members and the trade.
“It is disappointing that during these already difficult trading conditions that operators such as CCS are choosing to make these commercial decisions that will ultimately harm the relationship they have with the trade and independents agents in particular.”
TTA Worldchoice’s move comes after agents in Global Travel Group were advised to switch away from CCS as its UK conference last week. It remains to be seen to what degree members of these consortium will be able to move away from selling the UK’s market leader, P&O Cruises, and sister brands Cunard and Princess Cruises.
Yesterday leading cruise club Gill’s Cruise Centre vowed to continue working with CCS after it took the decision to relocate some jobs back to his original headquarters in Wales from London blaming the current market conditions, although conceding the new commission arrangement were “challenging”.
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