I realized in talking to some people on my last cruise, that their travel agent gives them on board credit for booking with them.
Anyone know a travel agent that does that?
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With Carnival cutting commission to 5% in the UK, the beginning of the end of cruise lines paying any commission has started. Those OBC deals you see will be gone within 5 years and if you then want or need a TA to book your cruise, you will be paying for that service. Don't think the cruise lines will be giving you what they were paying the TA in the form of a lower fare. You certainly didn't see the airlines giving you TA commissions when they were for the most part done away with.The demise of the TA has been discussed as a possibility for years. So far still more than 80% of cruises are booked through TA's. Yes I think that the mass market cruise lines would like to do away with TA's. I have seen the in house PCC or whatever each line calls them become more aggressive. Airlines are different. Cruises are less price sensitive because of the TA's. Each line has almost a distinctive character. The cruise lines find that the TA's are still their best way to sell and advertise. All the advertisement you see on TV is still just name recognition advertising. Disney sells well but is clearly the most expensive of the mass cruise lines.
"Times are a changing!" And the cruise industry is slowly changing with the times. At one time most of the cruise lines encouraged everyone to use TAs (Renaissance Cruise Lines was the exception and it went bankrupt). But now, the cruise lines are all embracing the power and low cost of the internet. We have watched the airlines gradually move away from TAs and sell most of their tickets on line either directly or through large on-line companies such as Expedia. We think the cruise industry will follow a similar pattern since direct internet booking is very low cost and efficient. We ourselves now book nearly all our cruises directly on the internet (we cruise about 75 days a year) and seldom even talk to human. We still use online TAs if they have a better offer then the cruise lines, but even this is somewhat of a sham since most of these online TAs are now directly connected to the cruise line computers. Hence, when you book online with many major online TAs the booking goes directly into the cruise line computers and the only difference (from booking on a cruise line web site) is the price and/or OBCs.Good points. I want to mention that Renaissance was using TAs at the time that they went bankrupt, but they did not initially. IMO it was 9/11 that lead to their bankrupty.
Good points. I want to mention that Renaissance was using TAs at the time that they went bankrupt, but they did not initially. IMO it was 9/11 that lead to their bankrupty.We agree! Unfortunately they did not have enough resources to get through those tough times. That was one of our favorite cruise lines (no smoking and no children and no teens) and we really loved their ships (R1 - R8). We still try to get on those ships whenever possible (Azamara, Oceania, and Princess). Ironically it may turn out that Ren was years ahead of their time. In the next few years we suspect that many cruise lines will have no smoking and no longer use TAs (why pay a commission when you can take bookings online). As to children...well that is another story.