Advisor Group Executives Unanimous on NCL’s No-NCF Announcementby Dori Saltzman /
Executives across the travel agency community are applauding Norwegian Cruise Line for its decision to start paying commissions on traditionally non-commissionable fares starting next year.
“This really is some of the best news we have heard in a long time,” said John Lovell, president of Travel Leaders Group. “I am very grateful NCL has announced this, as it strengthens the distribution channel. We are working with our member agencies to develop marketing plans so they can take advantage of this lucrative offer.”
“The news from Norwegian Cruise Line that they will compensate travel advisors for non-commissionable fares is incredible,” said David Crooks, senior vice president of product & operations for World Travel Holdings, the parent company of Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises.com. “To me, this is one of the most exciting things I’ve heard in a long time. The past two years have been challenging for our industry and as we push toward recovery, this change provides even further momentum. Norwegian’s continued support of the trade is applauded and we look forward to demonstrating our appreciation.”
“NCL was the first cruise line to drop vaccination requirements and now they’ve led the way again by announcing they will pay commissions to advisors for NCFs,” said Michelle Fee, CEO & founder of Cruise Planners. “We are thrilled and applaud this decision. This will ensure the hard work advisors put in is fairly compensated and reaffirms the important partnerships that exist between advisors and suppliers.”
“TRAVELSAVERS and NEST commend and thank NCL for this change in commission policy,” said Nicole Mazza, chief marketing officer for TRAVELSAVERS. “It has been a tough two years for the agency community. NCL’s commitment will contribute to a quicker recovery for many. Well done, we hope other lines consider the same.”
Both Crooks and Fee emphasized the message the decision sends in terms of NCL’s support of the advisor community. They aren’t alone.
“Norwegian Cruise Line’s announcement that it would pay advisors commissions on NCFs is truly a groundbreaking move and one which we are thrilled to see,” said Michael Johnson, president of Ensemble. “While it will certainly be welcome news for our members and all travel advisors as they rebuild their businesses post-pandemic, it’s really more about the message that NCL is sending of how much they value advisors as partners and are taking action to demonstrate that commitment.”
“Norwegian’s recent announcement about paying commissions on non-commissionable fares for bookings made 120 days or more into the future, is a game changer,” said Jackie Friedman president of Nexion. “Not only does this mean increased compensation for travel advisors, but it encourages them to lengthen the booking window and lock in future sales earlier than they currently are now.
"It certainly is a reflection of Norwegian’s commitment to compensate the travel agency channel for their efforts to fill the ships, and is something we have been asking for, for years.”
James Ferrara, president, and co-founder of InteleTravel, pointed out that such a move by a cruise line has been a long time coming.
“This is a long-standing issue for agencies that is overdue to be addressed and redressed,” he told Travel Market Report.
“The agency community has been asking for transparency on NCFs for decades, and at least some compensation. But the competing cruise lines have always circled the wagons. NCL’s move is a surprising and creative strategy at a time when cruise lines are still struggling to recover pre-pandemic sales and Wall Street has been battering their stocks due to debt and economic jitters. If the commitment is to sustain this as a fair policy for the long term, and not just a grab for market share during a moment of need, only to be reversed when conditions improve for NCL, then it could be a game changer. If other cruise lines do not follow suit, there will be a shift in market share.”