Norwegian Cruise Line, which recently announced it will pay commission on non-commissionable fares next year, is doubling down on its investment in the agency distribution channel. The cruise line is investing $250,000 into ASTA’s advisor recruitment and training programs.
According to ASTA, the investment is the “largest single donation from a cruise line” to bolster its recruitment – and education – of new-to-the-industry travel advisors.
“Our travel advisors are incredibly important to the Company, and this investment further showcases our complete commitment to the travel agency community,” said Harry Sommer, president, and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “ASTA has been a great partner to NCL and to travel advisors all around the world, and we are extremely proud to be able to support them with providing advisors with extensive training and educational programs.”
ASTA will use the donation to further enhance its web presence, which underwent a full overhaul earlier this fall, making it seamless for new talent to access the essential education and training resources on offer. Additionally, the investment will allow for a series of robust consumer-facing digital advertisements, distributed through social media and targeted search that leads directly to the Society’s Becoming a Travel Advisor resource guide.
The guide was also recently updated through the Society’s in-house team of industry experts, in consultation with leaders across the industry. It outlines, step by step, what anyone considering this profession needs to know, including the various travel agency business models, how to make money as a travel advisor, how to start a travel business, and the necessary credentials.
“If someone is interested in becoming a travel advisor, they first have to understand the landscape of our industry and the variety of pathways available to them,” said Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors. “There are so many ways someone can join the ranks of our industry. First, we must show them the range of exciting possibilities. This generous support from Norwegian will help us rapidly build the top of this essential talent funnel.”
The need for new travel advisors is great. According to ASTA research, 75% of Americans plan to spend the same or more on travel in 2023, when compared to 2022, and 25% plan to take a dream vacation by March 2023. Of consumers who use a travel advisor, 33% used one to book a cruise.