ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The world's largest agency consortium said it
dropped the world's largest cruise line from its list of preferred
suppliers because Carnival Cruise Lines just didn't want to get
Vacation.com president Dick Knodt said the decision was made
during a "typical" review of supplier contracts at the end of the
Looking back on Carnival's presence at Vacation.com's annual
conference and during its "Engagements" marketing campaign, Knodt
said Carnival's participation was "underwhelming."
"We just really want people to participate in our programs,"
Knodt added. "And Carnival, as the biggest kid on the block, showed
hesitancy to get involved."
Carnival executives could not be reached for comment, but an
e-mail statement from president Bob Dickinson said the line
"respects" Vacation.com's decision.
"Perhaps one of the reasons we didn't find our relationship too
effective is because they had a preferred-supplier relationship
with all major cruise lines," Dickinson said, adding, "One wonders
what the term 'preferred' meant."
Knodt said that as the largest agency consortium, with more than
9,000 locations, the group must cast its preferreds net pretty wide
in order to appeal to its base.
"Being big has challenges. We have to give our members the
products they want," Knodt said. "We have competition from other
travel marketing organizations. ... Those companies have all of
those cruise lines [as preferreds]."
Knodt said Vacation.com will continue to work with other cruise
lines and with several within the Carnival Corp. family.
And Carnival will continue to work with top-producing agencies
within the Vacation.com fold, he said.
The consortium, which will roll out a new list of suppliers and
technology advancements this week, will not renew supplier
contracts with a couple of other "small" companies, Knodt said.