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IN THE PICTURE: Harmony takes a bow

The world’s largest cruise ship, Harmony

of the Seas, is making its UK debut to agents this week at the 2016 Clia Conference in Southampton. The $1 billion vessel, which can carry

5,479 passengers, arrived at the port on Tuesday ahead of the three-day event. New features on board include Ultimate

Abyss which, with a 100-foot drop, is claimed to be the tallest dry slide at sea. The ship will host the conference’s closing ceremony on Friday (May 20).

Carnival UK pledges to put agents at ‘heart’ of sales

Hollie-Rae Merrick

P&O Cruises and Cunard has pledged to go “back to basics” to ensure it has “agents at the heart of everything” it does.

The lines are to reinstate fam

trips for the first time in about four years and will offer more ship visits this year than ever before. They will also revamp all

agent training modules on their Academy Online trade portal and have recruited a regional team focused on developing accounts. The team of three has been

set up to support and help grow business from agents who have just started to work with the brands. The “fundamental changes”

to the way the combined sales force works comes following the biggest restructure at Carnival UK in a decade, when the team was increased by 30% to 46 people. Alex White, Carnival UK’s sales

vice-president, insisted the team had always had a “philosophy of supporting agents”, but said the

8 19 May 2016

resources weren’t always in place to put that into action. “We want to be clear to the trade

that this is a fundamental change to the way we work with them,” White said. “In the past we have not necessarily made decisions as quickly as we would have liked to, because of the structure we had. “Our travel agent partners will

notice a change in the service they get from us – we will be easier to


Number of staff in the combined P&O and Cunard sales team

do business with and will tailor our service to suit each trade partner.” As part of the changes, the sales

team will be known as the Cunard & P&O Cruises Partnership Team. White said the new structure

would help drive both brands’ prices, admitting that previously there had been more focus on filling capacity on Britannia. And he claimed commission

had not been raised as a key issue when Carnival UK liaised with agents about the new structure. “If agents say commission is a barrier to selling us, then of course

we’ll review it,” he said. ›What do you think of P&O and Cunard’s plans? Email your views to › Face to Face, page 14

SALES TEAM: Some of Carnival UK’s sales force, now called the Cunard & P&O Cruises Partnership Team

WTH ups commission to 10% for members of group’s Cruise Club

World Travel Holdings UK (WTH UK), which supplies cruise packages to The Travel Network Group Cruise Club, has increased commission from 7.5% to 10% after a “slow” start. The company joined the group

in May 2015 both as an agent member and as a supplier of exclusive cruise deals. WTH UK managing director

James Cole said: “It’s been a slow burn. We still need to convince members that we can add value in their business. We are really committed to the partnership, and so is The Travel Network Group.” Cole said increasing commission

was one demonstration of WTH UK’s commitment, and he revealed it was working on ways to improve its products, marketing support and customer service. “We want [agents] to have the confidence to call us and to see we have exceptional products, enthusiastic staff and they can earn good commission,” he said. Cole said WTH UK would support The Travel Network Group members with regional training, e-blasts, point-of-sale material and an online brochure that members could white-label.

FACE TO FACE: “We are always looking at new markets, but China and Cuba are where it’s at right now” Arnold Donald, page 14

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