In an economy where every commission penny counts, agents with elderly or special-needs clients will be happy to learn about a new revenue stream.
CareVacations, which provides special-needs equipment and services to the cruise industry, introduced a commission program for travel agents who arrange for the rental of medical equipment or services on behalf of clients.
The decision to offer commission followed a test program last year, as the company sought to build relationships with the travel agent industry and support agencies during a tough economic time, said Jennifer Alvarez, the company's business development and division manager for cruise line services.
"We did not implement any formal promotion of the program [in 2009, but] we would simply ask travel agents if they wanted to participate when they called in to our reservation center," said Alvarez.
At the time, the firm offered commission only on some of its basic products, such as standard wheelchairs and oxygen orders.
"The payout result for this test was more than $30,000" in commissions, she said, adding that standard wheelchairs rented for one week can cost up to $105 outside of North America, and scooters cost up to $195 for one week.
"After carefully reviewing the results, CareVacations' owner and president, Donald Stilwell, decided to implement and promote an official commission program on all our products and services," she explained.
Now, 10% commission is paid to the agent or agency on all products. Agents who sign an exclusive contract with CareVacations earn a higher percentage based on productivity.
Alvarez noted that CareVacations provides or sells medical equipment to many cruise lines for onboard use.
"It's important to point out, however, that most cruise lines only offer this onboard equipment to passengers for emergencies and/or for brief periods of time. Most cruise lines do not permit their equipment to be used by passengers for the entire duration of a cruise, nor do the cruise lines permit their onboard equipment to be taken off the ships for shore excursions," she said.
Rather, cruise lines strongly recommend that passengers either bring their personal devices from home or rent the equipment and have it delivered to the ship.
CareVacations' products also are available for noncruise-related travel in select destinations cities like Vancouver; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Los Angeles and San Diego; the greater Central and South Florida areas; London and Barcelona.
The company has offices in Fort Lauderdale; Leduc, Alberta; Seattle; and in the U.K.
Agents can make rental bookings or get more information by calling (877) 478-7827 or visiting www.carevacations.com.