CLIA changes course, to concentrate on individual travel agents

CLIA changes course, to concentrate on individual travel agents

FORT LAUDERDALE — After nearly four decades concentrating on the traditional bricks and mortar agencies, the course of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is changing course and honing in on the individual travel counsellor.

After discussions with the industry, CLIA has developed three tiers based on an agency’s size but wants travel counsellors to join as individuals, reflecting the huge growth of the home-based model.

A range of travel agency groups has signed up including Ensemble, Vacation.com, Virtuoso and Nexion and some 50,000 agents have joined as individuals.

With a wide range of perks available from the cruise lines, agents will need to have earned $5,000 in gross cruise commissions in the past year to qualify.

Each individual will have an ID number used when booking cruises so the cruise lines know the travel agent is a CLIA member and what level of extras that individual receives depending on whether his or her agency is a silver, gold or platinum tier.

The 25 cruise lines of CLIA feel the new structure, which launches Jan. 1, will encourage agents to take advantage of their training tools and become more effective at selling cruises.

“CLIA’s new travel agent membership program offers agents more training and rewards and reflects the value that the cruise industry places on them as important partners,” said Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service for Royal Caribbean.

“The agent benefits – from CLIA management training to unique CLIA booking credentials to incentives for themselves and their clients – are outstanding,” said Andy Stuart, Executive Vice President Sales & Passenger Services for Norwegian Cruise Line.

For more information, visit cruising.org/ridethecruisewave.