Editor’s note: Carnival Cruise Lines’ plan to reinstate the travel agent call to action in its consumer marketing was greeted by many agents with cynicism. In this guest commentary a top exec from a leading cruise agency group urges agents to reconsider.
I understand and empathize with the opinions of those travel agents who have been disappointed by Carnival. I know it’s difficult to step up and support a partner who over the past several years has diminished the support they offer to travel agents.
However, Carnival’s announcement about its policy shift to include the travel agent call to action in its consumer marketing is a major and positive decision. This should be the proof agents have been looking for from Carnival that they are making changes to their policies and embracing agents.
My mother always said to me, “Dwain, You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” This has become one of my golden rules in business. As hard as it is to shake hands with someone who has disappointed or hurt you, we are all better for doing so.
With this in mind, here are some additional points to consider:
Top 10 Reasons Why You Should be a Fan of Carnival Cruise Lines
10. Healthy diversity. A healthy, profitable and diverse range of suppliers is critical to the success of the distribution channel.
9. Largest player in the space. Carnival is the largest cruise line in North America, accounting for an estimated 35% of U.S. cruise passenger departures. Carnival’s success can only mean greater success for our other cruise partners and the travel industry as a whole.
8. Money in your pocket today. Because Carnival has a much shorter booking window, selling Carnival will put money in your wallet now, not later.
7. Close to home. For North American consumers, Carnival has more ships than any other cruise line in U.S. drive markets (U.S. departure ports).
6. New and enhanced product. Check out the Dream Class – Carnival Dream, Carnival Magic and Carnival Breeze – plus the completely refurbished Carnival Sunshine. In addition, the Carnival Triumph has received a wide variety of Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements.
5. High-value alternative. Carnival is an important and affordable option for your customers. It provides an incredible value and an awesome experience.
4. New cruisers. Carnival attracts more new cruisers than any other cruise line. This helps you build new lifelong customers.
3. A friend in need is a friend indeed. It is the good business practice of successful companies to support a business partner when the partner is in need.
2. History of importance to the cruise and leisure travel industry. Carnival was one of the pioneers of the modern day cruise industry, leading the industry to become the major force that it is today.
1. A sizeable opportunity for travel agents. Carnival is a large source of business. Customers are buying Carnival in spite of the media assault on the Carnival brand. Everyday Carnival is the No. 1 or No. 2 cruise line booked by many of us, and for many agents it is a significant percentage of their sales and therefore profits and success.
Carnival has made real strides recently, reversing earlier decisions that strained its agent relations, as a direct result of agent feedback.
So, I ask you to think out of the box and remove yourself from your recent disappointments in your relationship with Carnival. This is an opportunity for the agent community to prove to Carnival that travel agents are an important driver of business for them and for cruise lines in general.
Dwain Wall is Senior Vice President and General Manager of CruiseOne & Cruises Inc. He is also a member of Travel Market Report’s Editorial Advisory Board.