Complete Cruise Solution’s move to cut commission to 5% has not put off Stockport-based agency Miss Ellies Travel from entering the cruise market for the first time.
The agency, which moved from Manchester to Stockport last week, is preparing to launch a cruise website, Elliescruisevillage.com, and claimed the level playing field on price had improved its prospects.
The site is being powered by Blackpool-based Cruise Village. Director Phil Nuttall is expanding the brand having launched Southampton Cruise Village last year.
He is looking to work with agencies with non-cruise customer databases to target new-to-cruise clients.
He said: “The reason people have shied away from cruise in the past is because of heavy discounting. The commission cut is an opportunity for Ellies to better compete.”
Miss Ellies manager Denise Marsden said: “Price isn’t always key for the customer – it’s about getting the right itineraries.
“Thanks to CCS’s move, a lot of the discounting has gone. The value of bookings tends to be higher, so you get a decent markup.”
Although many cruise agents who are used to earning more than 5% are angry about the move, Carnival UK managing director David Dingle said he had seen no change in agents’ business ahead of next week’s 2012 programme launches.
Speaking at the launch of Carnival UK’s annual Cruise Report this week, Dingle also insisted a new bonus payments scheme would not allow volume retailers to continue discounting.
“Ideally, what we would all like to see is travel agents making more money out of cruise from more volume,” he said.
Dingle suggested there had been “some posturing” behind recent threats by agents to switch-sell away from the CCS cruise lines.
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