Carnival UK is “tantalisingly close” to unveiling a new commission structure for agents following a review.

Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly at the Carnival UK Cruise Awards, sales director Chris Truscott admitted: “We haven’t been as active as we should have been investing in our trade partnerships.”

Truscott would not be drawn on whether commission would rise saying it was not about a “simple number”. “We’re working with consultants and reviewing agent remuneration and bonuses. We are tantalisingly close. We have to understand the value of the customer and we need to pay appropriate commission based on this.”

Carnival’s current commission, which was slashed to 5%, alienated many in the trade. Chief commercial officer Gerard Tempest said a revised commercial structure and pricing were among his main goals when he joined 11 months ago.

“What was appropriate then might not be appropriate now. We are investing to work together more effectively and collaboratively,” he said.

As part of its new approach Carnival launched an Agent Matters initiative earlier this year. Truscott denied the operator was being fickle, turning the charm on only when it needed agents.

“Travel agents fulfil a role we cannot fulfil ourselves because they have access to competitors’ customers and other holidaymakers that we don’t.”

P&O Cruises’ marketing director Christopher Edgington added: “We want to make a change and as a team we will be judged on whether we have delivered.”

Another development has been the creation of an Insights Team. Insights director Jeremy Tait vowed to improve customer service by responding to complaints promptly. He said: “I’ve had feedback that we lack a human voice. My mission is to stop complaints being made back in the UK completely by dealing with them on board.”

Edgington said the operator aimed to address complaints made on social media with a personal reply no matter what time of day or night.