Wednesday, 2 July 2014

MSC Cruises to increase shore excursion commission

MSC Cruises to increase shore excursion commission

MSC Cruises to increase shore excursion commission
MSC Cruises is increasing commission on shore excursions to a minimum of 10% to encourage agents to book tours directly, instead of using third-party suppliers.
The line currently offers 5% commission on excursions, but within the next month – when MSC unveils its – the line will begin a six-month pilot to test whether shore excursion booking volumes increase with a rise in commission.
Agents will earn the same amount of commission on cruise bookings and excursions. The base commission rate is 10%, so agents on that rate will earn the same on excursions.
The line made the announcement at an event in London this evening where it also unveiled its new bookings system for agents, MSC Book.
Executive director Giles Hawke (pictured) said agents were booking through third-party companies such as Attraction World and Cruisingexcursions.co.uk because they could earn more. But he argued that increasing commission would give agents the chance to make more money with MSC.
“This is a way of agents earning more money and we want to see if an increased amount makes a difference – if it does, then we will keep it going.”
Hawke said the new commission structure had been the result of agent feedback.
“There are companies who are just selling excursions and the fact we pay some commission recognises the importance of agents. They are proactively selling the products of these cruise excursion companies and if it is because they can earn money, then we’ll give them the opportunity to earn more so they can sell our cruise excursions.”
MSC also announced it was planning to double its UK sales team to 10 by January, as well as having a further team of 20 on the road promoting the line to agents.
The line is working with former Barrhead Travel director Trevor Davis and his marketing and support company 3For, which is creating a 20-strong field team of ‘MSC Ambassadors’ to train agents nationwide three or four times a year.
The new sales team and the increased commission on shore excursion, together with better account management and a consistent message on deals and pricing, are part of MSC’s 'Serving You' campaign, which aims to ensure agents can easily access all they need to book.
Hawke said plans were in place to help the line achieve 200,000 passengers from the UK by 2017 when he expects a ship to return to offer ex-UK sailings. He added that if agents show their support earlier there is a chance they a ship could return a year earlier.