Ultra luxury operator Silversea Cruises has announced that it is amending its policy on industry rebating, putting in place measures which will protect the line from agent undercutting either through rebating their commissions or value-adds.
The policy, which has been put in place based on feedback received from a ‘majority of travel agent partners’ came into effect yesterday (15 October).
“We want to create an overall environment of fairness, openness and transparency so as to reduce a problem in the industry, that of client poaching between agents,” said Mike Bonner, general manager, Silversea UK, Ireland & Middle East. “Our new policy will enable partners to focus on selling, building their business and enhancing the consumer experience. We intend to maintain a level playing field and look forward to working with agencies on welcoming their clients onboard in the future.”
A statement from Silversea lists the new policy as follows:
1. No travel agency or company may advertise or promote to the general public Silversea’s products online (including on websites with restricted/ membership-only access), in print, or by any other means, at a price or at a discounted rate below Silversea’s published cruise fares unless otherwise authorised by Silversea. For purposes of this policy, Silversea’s published cruise fares are defined as those cruise fares which appear on Silversea’s website.
2. A travel agency or company may advertise amenities (over and above approved group related amenities) provided their total value does not exceed 5% of the cruise fare being advertised.
3. Silversea will continue to accept payment from the client’s credit card, however in line with our global corporate policy, will only process the gross amount due on the booking. Commission will be paid approximately 14 days prior to sailing, by way of bank transfer.
4. If a booking is transferred to another travel agency or a booking is cancelled and rebooked by another travel agency within 30 days of the initial booking date and before final payment, the originating travel agency will not be paid a commission while the new travel agency of record will be paid a 10% commission. For purposes of this policy, the initial booking date means the date the original, initial deposit is received by Silversea.
5. If a booking is transferred to a travel agency or a booking is cancelled and rebooked by another travel agency more than 30 days after the initial booking was made or anytime inside the final payment window, a 10% commission will be paid to the originating travel agency and no commission will be paid to the new travel agency of record. For purposes of this policy, the initial booking date means the date the original, initial deposit is received by Silversea.
6. Bookings originating onboard through Silversea’s cruise consultants will be subject to the same policy if transferred to another agency other than the originating agency as indicated by the client at time of booking onboard.
7. Silversea reserves the right to reduce commissions and/or marketing funds, cancel or deny group contracts or take any other actions it deems appropriate if a travel agency violates this policy.
The news on Silversea’s new policy comes shortly after Royal Caribbean International announced its changes on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises commissions.