Signature Travel Network has inked two new exclusive deals with with Viking Cruises and Island Destinations that will get payments into travel advisors' hands closer to the time of booking rather than the time of travel.
The deal signed with Island Destinations will pay Signature members their full commission at the time of final payment, according to Alex Sharpe, Signature's president and CEO.
He has been a vocal proponent of earlier-pay programs for agencies, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Viking deal will see the supplier pay half of the commission for a sale at the time of the final payment.
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Voices are calling for suppliers to reexamine their commission payment
policies and rework them to get dollars to agency owners faster.
Final payment is often more than one year out from the date of travel, Sharpe said. For example, he said, a 2021 booking made today has a final payment deadline of Oct. 31. The agency making the booking would then receive 50% of its due commission on Nov. 15.
Sharpe said the new deal will bring in between $500,000 and $1 million in advance commissions monthly.
The CEO said he expects to make similar announcements in the future.
Signature has for several years had an agreement in place with Silversea, wherein the cruise line pays agencies their full commission when full payment is made. The consortium does have a repayment guarantee in place with that agreement to protect Silversea if a client cancels.
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In recent months, other suppliers have begun offering earlier commission payments. For instance, in July, the Globus family of brands said it would pay commissions more frequently and when a client pays, instead of at the time of travel.
"Suppliers are engaging," Sharpe said. "I encourage them to do it for everyone, but in some cases they need additional financial guarantees."