Viewpoint: 10 Reasons Why You Should Support Carnival
by Dwain Wall

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.  

Dwain Wall

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.

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Brent    8/21/2013 2:26:17 PM
Dwain,    I don't disagree with your 10 points. However, it seems to me that Carnival is being more than a bit disingenuous when "seeking" travel agent input. Are they telling us that they have no idea what steps they have taken in the past several years to make them so difficult to do business with them? Do they really need us to tell them this? It seems to me to be patronizing at best. 

B    8/21/2013 2:26:19 PM
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Peter    8/21/2013 3:03:15 PM
Driving more business to agents means more sales with low commission structure and high non-commissionable fees.  No thank you. We will take the higher commissions from other vendors any day.

John    8/21/2013 4:37:39 PM
We used to put 600 to 700 group passengers on Carnival year in and tear out.  Then they destroyed our group business piece by piece over a couple of years.  Their policies and disrespect took the Fun out of the Funships.  Maybe you need more tools in your leadership box than just a spreadsheet. Even my Carnival area rep of 18 years quit.  She could always spin sunshine out of every dark cloud until Jerry Buzzkills policies came along.  Even she could no longer represent them.   Burn me once, shame on you.  Burn me over and over for a couple of years -- shame on me. 

Richard    8/21/2013 9:17:53 PM
Dwain being a Senior Vice President obviously does not have to depend on sales for his livelihood.  He obviously also has been bought by CCL to be "on their side".  The last booking I had on CCL was a disaster.  The ship was filthy; the non-smoking locations were over-ran with smokers; the foul language of the guests was intolerable; the control of the children was non-existent and the food mediocre and drinks so watered down soda pop was stronger.  Cabins were not ready for boarding and the air conditioning was not working leaving a couple of thousand people stuck in the buffet, which was pretty bad from my clients report, and around the pool in the hot Florida sun.  CCL need to do great deal more than just putting a 5 second tag on a commercial.  They first need to fix their employee problem and bring service and maintenance back to acceptable levels.  Clean their ships and make coming on board pleasant.  Improve the entertainment and bring prices on board to a reasonable level.  They are in the situation they are in because this is what they asked for.   CCL just got greedy with dear 'ol Mickey at the helm and the Miami Heat won out and CCL suffered.  The best solution, fire Mickey without his golden parachute and hire a true leader and not a taker. 

JESS    8/25/2013 5:42:58 AM
How about this as a concept! How About CCL, and all of their affiliated companies need to step back and take a look at the distribution system!  NOW they need travel agents, because the PUBLIC does not trust them. NOW they come to travel agents to help fill their emplty ships. Hos about CCL and all of their affiliated companies take their phone number, URL's, and EMAIL addresses out of their ads and replace with SEE YOUR PROFESSIONAL TRAVEL CONSULTANT. Drive the client into the travel agent, and they MAYBE they travel agent will support you again!  How about CCL, et al, becoming the supplier, and NOT the competitor for travel agents? 

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