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Travel Agents vs. Disney Cruise Line

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When is a threat not a threat? When it’s worded in as gentle a way as possible. But make no mistake, the American Society of Travel Agents – via president and CEO Zane Kerby – most definitely issued a veiled threat to Disney Cruise Line in response to a recent change with regard to the way they handle commissions paid to agents whose clients book additional cruises while on board.

Survey Says…

According to ASTA, 93 percent of THEIR surveyed members reported being “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the policy change, with a whopping 70 percent saying they’d be willing to basically push their clients toward a line other than Disney.

Pointing out that travelers often rely on the recommendations of their travel agents when making a decision as to how to spend their vacation dollars, Kerby made what might easily be interpreted as a not-so-veiled threat aimed at Disney. While he said that agents would, of course, always help clients book whatever they specifically requested, “because of the breadth and qualify of cruise inventory available, agents have many alternatives to suggest.”

What It’s All About

At the heart of the matter is a move made in October which capped the commission paid to travel agents if their clients booked a future cruise during a sailing. While it had previously been an adjustable rate as high as 16 percent, Disney decided that 10 percent would be the maximum percentage paid.  “We encourage Disney Cruise executives to reconsider this commission policy,” Kerby declared, “and reward their strongest sales representatives accordingly.”

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