Virgin Voyages has increased its base commission
to 16% indefinitely, which the new cruise brand said is part of its commitment
to help travel advisors navigate the Covid crisis.
Virgin said that no portion of the base fare would be
excluded from that commission, as part of its no-NCF (noncommissionable fare)
“We have listened to [travel agents] and they have told us
what they need in order to be successful during this time,” said CEO Tom
McAlpin in a statement. “In turn, we are investing in our relationship by
increasing our commission structure to 16% and honoring their role as essential
pillars of the travel community.”
Virgin said it recognizes that travel advisors are a
critical entry point to the brand’s success. The line is also paying 10% on
pre-cruise sales of shore excursions, hotels and spa treatments, items on which
most cruise lines don't pay commission.
Before the coronavirus crisis, Virgin Voyages had planned to
launch its first ship, the Scarlet Lady, in April. Virgin’s first sailings are
now scheduled to depart in October. The line recently released a list of
protocols it will implement throughout the ship, including an air purification
system that kills 99.9% of all viruses, virtual queues and other contactless
technology, reduced ship capacity, virus testing for passengers and crew, and
thermal monitoring cameras.