FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A travel agent here unveiled an Internet
cruise auction site and is offering listings on the site to other
Cruise Lines International Association-affiliated agents.
Charles Dubinsky, owner of Rainbow Travel, a $1 million per year
agency and a member of the Cruise Shoppes of America consortium,
said the site, www.allcruiseauction.com, was launched in late 1999 as
"an alternative to purchasing cruises through traditional
Agencies pay $1 to post cruises for auction on the site, and
turn over one point of their commission on sold cruises.
None of the site's inventory of cruises are posted directly by
cruise operators, said Dubinsky, although he's had "conversations"
with several lines.
He said most of the cruises listed for auction on
www.allcruiseauction.com come from travel agencies' excess group
inventory, with others supplied by Rainbow Travel, and the site is
only concerned with auctioning cruises. "We're only selling
cruises; no time shares or travel certificates," said Dubinsky.
The auction site can help cruise sellers stimulate group
bookings, make additional profits and help mainstream travel
sellers break into cruise retailing, said Dubinsky. "This could
lead [consumers] to call agencies directly, after making a cruise
booking, for other forms of travel. Also, you have a customer for
your database now."
Dubinsky said he originally created the site exclusively to
promote Rainbow's cruise inventory, but later opted to open the
site to agencies affiliated with CLIA. "It's a steal compared to
other auction sites," he said.
Dubinsky said that while offering profits for agents,
www.allcruiseauction.com also represents a value for consumers.
"It's all based on marketing fundamentals," he said. "Whenever you
spend money on getting clients, it goes back into the price of the
product. If you can lower the price of getting the client, you can
charge less. Agencies spend a lot of money to attract clients and
this could help."
Dubinsky said he is adding an area to the site through which
consumers can list cruises they want and agencies can respond by
offering rates to match the query.
A recent check of the site found Alaska, Caribbean and Europe
cruises from Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and
Dubinsky said cruises from Costa Cruises, Crown Cruise Line,
Regal Cruises and Royal Caribbean International also have appeared
on the site.