In the pandemic more than ever, travel advisors have proven how crucial their role is with their cruise line partners, said Randall Soy, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Soy spoke on a panel with Arnie Weissmann, Travel Weekly's editor in chief, at Ensemble Travel Group's virtual conference Wednesday.
Considering many cruise lines were essentially paying double commission to agents who have rebooked cruises canceled due to Covid-19 -- their initial commission was protected, and they earned an additional commission on the rebooking -- Weissmann asked what kind of feedback Regent has gotten on the program.
Feedback has been good, Soy said, adding that he couldn't be happier with the job advisors are doing right now.
"We're not giving it -- they're earning it," he said of the double commission.
The panel focused on "the power of partnerships," with some of the focus turned to a hot-button issue in the agency community today: early payment of commissions.
Globus family of brands, owner of Avalon Waterways, is doing just that. Paula Hayes, vice president of sales, said the company is offering commissions on deposits or full payments in advance. Early commissions on 2021 bookings began in mid-August, and the policy has been extended through Feb. 28.
If agencies' cash flow situation doesn't get better by then, Globus will consider extending it further, Hayes said.
Feedback has been good.
"Advisors feel that being a partner of choice with Globus family of brands has made all the difference in the world," said Stephanie Bishop, Globus' managing director of Canada.
Weissmann asked Steve Smotrys, vice president of global sales with Seabourn, if he has encountered many agencies that have closed up shop due to the pandemic.
While it has been a difficult time for agencies in particular, Smotrys said, many are still in business. Some have given up their physical office space, but many have pivoted to a home-based model. He called it "inspiring."
"It's been remarkable to me how resilient advisors have been," Smotrys said.