HOME-BASED AGENTS have contacted Travel Weekly's
Home-Based Agent E-letter in recent days to comment on the news
that Royal Caribbean Cruises' three brands began terminating their
business relationships with companies they concluded were card
mills. "Hooray for RCCL! I have been in the business 30 years, and
their efforts to qualify agents is great," wrote Maryellen Iobst, a
certified travel counselor. "It's about time someone sits up and
takes notice that all the professional agencies create a value. I
hope that all the other cruise lines follow." Others, such as an
agent identified as "Rick," wasn't so pleased. "Well, come on, give
us the names of the companies that Royal Caribbean is
blackballing," he wrote. YTB International and Joystar have
confirmed that Royal Caribbean had informed them that the cruise
company would no longer do business with them. One YTB agent wrote
that YTB gave him the opportunity to enter the travel business, and
that he was saddened by the news.
CRUISEONE, the franchise operation with 500
independent cruise-only travel professionals, and Cruises Inc., its
affiliated host agency network, said they support the actions taken
by Royal Caribbean. "I am thrilled that one of the largest cruise
[companies] has addressed a major industry problem," said Vivian
Ewart, senior vice president of CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.
"CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. work hard to provide professionalism
and have been in business since 1992 and 1981, respectively." All
affiliated agents, she said, must have more than 70 hours of
classroom-style training at the company's Fort Lauderdale-based
corporate headquarters. Continuing education is also provided
through Web seminars and regional instruction, she said.
INDEPENDENT AGENT REPORT, released by the the National
Association of Commissioned Travel Agents, found that a majority of
NACTA members work with a host agency. Fifty-one percent of them
split commissions with their host; the average split is 72% to the
agent and 27% to the host. A small number, less than 5%, keep 100%
of commissions and pay a fee to the host agency. The average
monthly fee paid is $286. Cruise bookings continue to be the main
source of NACTA members' revenue; 60% of respondents said so, with
other travel products falling far behind. Twenty-two percent of
respondents said tours generated the majority of their revenue, and
15.5 percent said that FIT/trip planning brought in the majority of
revenue. The report was based on results from an e-mail survey with
DATEBOOK: The Outside Sales Support
Network's Cleveland chapter will meet Thursday, Oct. 25, from 7 to
8 p.m. for a presentation from ClientEase. The chapter will welcome
OSSN agents as well as non-members at Mavis Winkle's Restaurant
& Pub. Darla Graber, president of ITAMS, will discuss the
ClientEase client database management system designed for
home-based agents. More information is available by e-mailing the
chapter at [email protected].
FAM OF THE
Trip: Two nights in Calcutta and eight days
cruising the Brahmaputra River aboard the 24-passenger
Departure: Dec. 5 from Calcutta, land
Length: Nine nights.
Sponsor: Value World Tours, Fountain
Cost: $1,595 per person, double. Includes
hotel, some meals during the land portion of the trip, air within
India, sightseeing, an upper-deck cabin on the cruise, all meals on
the cruise and guided shore excursions.
Noteworthy: Companions are eligible for
$100 additional; the single supplement is $595. Port charges and
visa fees are not included. Air can be arranged.
Contact: (800) 795-1633; e-mail: [email protected].
Agent Editor: Donna Tunney
Phone: (508) 221-3674
opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].