Viking Cruises updated its travel agent advertising and commissions policy on Friday, giving travel agents a full and complete list of its acceptable practices for advertising, marketing, booking and rebating.
The changes were made “in an effort to protect the interests of all of the travel trade and the Viking brand.”
Some of its updated guidelines include:
- Travel agents will only be allowed to advertise Viking’s published rate, found on its website and in the GDS. Any other prices need to be approved by Viking in writing.
- Group rates secured through Viking’s group reservation system cannot be advertised to the general public.
- Agents will only be allowed to offer non-cash marketing incentives if the incentives are able to be redeemed and used onboard or if the retail value of the incentive does not exceed $100. For the onboard gifts, the incentive can’t exceed: $150 per guest for seven-night sailings, $300 per guest for eight to 14-night sailings on a Viking vessel and $500 per guest for 15-night plus sailings $500 per guest.
- Points and miles can only be offered by an agent as a non-cash marketing incentive and hae to be offered only through a credential membership program. Agents can only offer points and miles if the value does not exceed 25% of its published price and if agents has secured Viking’s written approval prior to advertising or offering it in any media.
- Agents also will have to include the full commissionable portion of a cruise fare in the rate shown or communicated. Other fees — fuel supplements, cruise taxes, fees and port expenses — have to be advertised separate from the commissionable portion.
- Agents must advertise in the currency of their clients — U.S. residents should see the price in U.S. dollars and Canadian residents should see it in Canadian dollars.
As part of its policies, Viking will continue to pay commission 29 days prior to departure date for cruise, air, extensions and insurance. For its onboard purchases — shore excursions, gifts and beverage packages — will be paid at their completion.
The full text of Viking’s advertising and commission policy can be found on its website.
More information on Viking Ocean Cruises’ previous travel agent policies, along with information from 12 other cruise lines, can be found on Travel Market Report’s Cruise Report Card published on our website.