Norwegian Cruise Line is reassessing the UK market in the light of market leader Carnival UK’s move to cut rates to 5%.
Speaking to Travel Weekly at this week’s annual UK cruise convention Andy Stuart, the line’s Executive Vice President Global Sales and Passenger Services, said he was concerned about the high levels of discounting by agents in the UK.
Although no conclusions have been drawn about the impact of Carnival’s move to a flat 5% commission rate for 2012 sales onwards, NCL has conceded the move has prompted it to start a dialogue with trade partners about commission rebating.
Stuart said: “It’s not appropriate for me to comment on other lines’ terms, but this market has a major challenge with rebating. It’s more intense here than anywhere else in the world.
“I think it would be good for the industry to see more focus on the value of the product rather than simply on the price. As a line we are concerned about the level of rebating in the UK but we are also concerned about the long term health of the distribution channels we work with.
“We believe it’s fundamental that anything we do as a cruise line we do in tandem with agents, but NCL would like to have a look at things more closely. We have two priorities: to resolve what we see as extreme rebating but also to look at the market and understand what’s happening here first.
“We are spending a lot time talking to our partners here so we understand how this is affecting them. There has been a major challenge laid down in this market as a result of what Carnival UK has done. We are trying to understand what we are going to do in this market.”
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