Royal Caribbean CEO defends agent compensation to investors

By Tom Stieghorst
Royal Caribbean International CEO Adam Goldstein said he sees stability in the compensation paid to travel agents.

Asked by a Wall Street analyst to elaborate on commission strategy during Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s conference call on first-quarter earnings, Goldstein said Royal Caribbean takes pride in its travel agent relations.

_Adam Goldstein"Clearly, that relationship is predicated on us giving them competitive compensation to produce business for us," he said. "If they don’t feel we're giving them a fair shake on compensation, they may love us and our products, but they're going someplace else."

Goldstein said he doesn't blame travel agents for asking for more compensation, nor does he blame investors for pushing for lower commission costs.

"It is our responsibility to navigate the right balance to reflect the great value they bring to the success of our business model and neither underpay nor overpay," Goldstein said.

He said the foundations of travel agent compensation in recent years "have been much more stable than unstable."

"It's pretty clear what the building-block elements of travel agent compensation are, and it's pretty clear travel agents are willing to produce good business for us with the existing components of their compensation," Goldstein said.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly. 
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