“The cruise industry and travel agents have a responsibility to diminish customers’ notions that fares will always be reduced”, the boss of Carnival told delegates at the UK Cruise Convention last night.
Speaking at the Convention’s evening event, David Dingle said driving early bookings was “essential”, as these customers were more likely to book a brand because of service rather than price.
He added that he understood that it was “often too tempting for agents to respond”, when a nearby travel agent offered discounted cruises, but said: “It’s the cruise lines that should stand and fall by the prices raised, not the travel agents.”
Dingle also made reference to the recent slash in commission levels imposed by Complete Cruise Solution on 2012 bookings. “The commission level cuts seem to be the right decision, though it is early days,” he admitted.
“But more travel agents will welcome the chance to sell on service again rather than price.”
Meanwhile Dingle said there was an opportunity to increase prices through the growing demand for cruises by the UK market. “If we keep the same capacity, then more demand will drive the price up,” he said.
“Travel agents are essential to that drive; they have access to millions of holiday makers. They need to lock in loyalty from their customers; loyalty is an essential path to growth,” he added.