Securing first-hand product knowledge is equally as important as building your client base, which is why familiarization trips are critical to increasing a travel agent’s business. They have been around forever, and yet there is no universal policy among suppliers as to how an agent can qualify for one or what they need to do to register.
Since time is a luxury that most agents do not have, Travel Market Report did the research for you and produced our Supplier Report Cards, which compile the fam trip policies of many of the top suppliers in markets such as ocean cruise, river cruise, and escorted tours. This information is just one part of our Supplier Report Cards, created in an effort to provide travel agents with a one-stop resource of information from suppliers on topics that are important to them.
Travel Market Report’s Ocean Cruise Report Card highlights the fam policies of 14 ocean cruise lines. To see the entire report, including other policy information on matters such as commission payments, non-commissionable fees, co-op marketing and training, click here.
And keep a lookout for fam policy information from river cruise and escorted tour suppliers, as we will be highlighting those again soon. If you don’t want to wait, you can download the PDFs of these additional report cards from our homepage.
When asked what their fam trip policy was for travel agents, here is what the ocean cruise lines said:
- Azamara Club Cruises – Agents must have sold at least one booking in the past 12 months on any of the three brands: Azamara, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean International.
- Carnival Cruise Lines – Discounted travel agent rates are distributed to all individual travel agents who are signed up to receive Carnival emails (see GoCCL.com). Rates are subject to availability on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Celebrity Cruises – The line has Seminar at Sea availability throughout the year to help travel agents learn and experience their product. Travel agents must work with their Celebrity sales manager to learn how to join one of these seminars.
- Crystal Cruises – Crystal posts agent rate cruises on their agent site year-round.
- MSC Cruises – MSC offers seminars at sea multiple times throughout the year as well as ship tours when any of their ships are docked in their homeport. All can be coordinated through the travel agent’s BDM.
- Norwegian Cruise Line – Fams are provided through the BDM's discretion or offered to travel partners through headquarters. The line wants every travel partner to experience their product.
- Oceania Cruises – Oceania offers travel agent reduced rates. More information can be found in the travel agent center.
- Paul Gauguin Cruises – Reduced rate travel is offered to industry partners with verification of employment. Confirmation is typically given inside 30 days of sailing.
- Regent Seven Seas – All agent partners may submit requests for reduced rates with confirmation from 30-7 days prior to sailing. The agent rate depends on agency production.
- Royal Caribbean Cruise Line – Land familiarization events are planned through the local strategic account manager. Typically an invitation is sent to the travel agency advising them of the fam opportunity. In addition, the Seminar at Sea experience creates and combines both classroom learning and the cruise experience. Travel agents can partner with their local strategic account manager for an invitation throughout the year.
- Seabourn – Fams are invitation-based for agents registered for the Insider (TP Newsletter) and who completed the Seabourn Academy.
- Silversea Cruises – The travel agent center of the line's website offers a list of travel agent reduced fares, which vary by category and voyage.
- Viking Ocean Cruises – Fam trips are based on availability and demand. Travel agents can contact their director of business development and/or inside sales to learn more.
- Windstar Cruises – Windstar regularly offers reduced rates for its travel agent partners. A downloadable PDF of the most current rates, as well as the terms and conditions, is available via the agent hub.